California’s Economy: Last . . . Not Lease
Back in the early 1990s, Gov. Pete Wilson had the perfect metaphor for the sagging California economy: folks were in such a hurry to get out of the Golden State that U-Haul couldn’t keep up with the demand for trailers.
Here’s a 21st century metaphor for the California economy: auto leases.
According to LeaseTrader.com, a website that helps motorists find people to take over their car leases, the no. 1 reason for trading leases in Los Angeles and San Diego in the fourth quarter of 2009 was Californians leaving the state.
That wasn’t the case a year ago, when the top reason was foreclosures and underwater mortgages.
In a good economy, you might expect a lease to be traded as part of trading up to a better car. Or maybe the new toy in the driveway and the accompanying mid-life crisis was the final straw in a shaky marriage.
But not so in present-day California. In a bad economy, divorce is at the opposite end of the pecking order.
The transfer of car leases breaks down as follows:
Job loss 7.3%
Mortgage issues 7.1%
Buyer’s remorse 6.8%
Btw, California’s population grew by 353,000 to 38.4 million from July 2008 to July 2009. The only years with lower growth rates since 1900 were 1994-96, according to the state’s Department of Finance.
Over the past five years, California has experienced a net-exodus of 500,000 residents, with the Golden State’s population buoyed by an influx of overseas immigration.