Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I just made $100 in "recreation related" expenditures in the Delta. Why didn't I have any fun?

Made a run out at noon to CVS and to grab lunch.  Picked up some shaving supplies, toiletries, and a few groceries and stopped for a sandwich.  According to the PPIC, I just supported recreation-related employment.  I didn't see any recreation products in the store (unless you count the family planning section), but I saw a lot of food.  But the experts at the PPIC classify all this routine local retail and restaurant jobs as "recreation-related".   

For example, the description of the Delta secondary zone on page 26 notes: "relatively few jobs (1%) in agriculture forestry, or fishing... recreation-related activities (food and lodging establishments, marinas, other arts and recreation activities, and retail trade) account for 22 percent of employment in the secondary zone." If you break down that 22% (which the PPIC does not, but consult the DPC Economic Sustiainbility Plan or BLS, BEA, EDD and other govt sources), you will learn that roughly 10 percentage points is retail (the mall, groceries, etc.) and almost another 10 percentage points is restaurants (majority fast food), and marinas are too small to show up as a sector in most tabulations but are part of arts and recreation, of which the entire sector is smaller than agriculture. 

As noted in chapter 2 of the peer-reviewed Economic Sustainability Plan; the data clearly shows arts and recreation has the lowest relative employment concentration in the Delta (primary + secondary zone combined) of any of the 21 economic sub-sectors defined by the government's NAICS system.  The notion advanced in the PPIC report that the legal Delta has a recreation oriented economy is false, it is wishful thinking and shameless pandering to the fictional narrative advanced by water export and habitat restorations interests.  If you combine the small real recreation sector with the mall and McDonalds selling to locals, it looks big.  The irony is that all that growth in so-called "recreation related" jobs that impresses the PPIC experts is generated by those housing developments in the Delta that they hate. 

Figure 6 illustrating recreation jobs in this new PPIC/Davis report is a wonderful example of how to mislead with graphs, and you will find no comparable groupings or graphs in any PPIC/Davis water reports on other regions.  According to Figure 6, Recreation is more important than construction and manufacturing combined (goods producing non-farm), bigger than government employment, bigger than healthcare. Who knew?

To be fair, later on in the report, they have a more reasonable estimate of Delta recreation that is significantly lower than their underestimated impact of agriculture (see previous post on that). 

There is more... especially on infrastructure and levees and salinity ... but I have to stop now and do other things.

[Edited for clarity on 1/12]

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