It’s boom time for the Bay Area, according to top economists. This morning (Jan. 16) over 100 of the region’s top private and public sector leaders convened at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute’s 8th Annual Economic Forecast sponsored by Accenture and hosted by The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Leading experts shared their economic outlook for the Bay Area, California and the nation. Dr. Sean Randolph, President of the Institute, and Mary Hamilton, Director of the Accenture Technology Labs in San Jose, welcomed the audience.

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President & CEO John Williams offered exclusive perspective from the Fed while UCLA Anderson Forecast Senior Economist Jerry Nickelsburg presented on economic trends nationally and statewide. Nickelsburg noted that the economy is growing slowly but steadily as consumer confidence increases. Coastal California, most notably the Bay Area, employment rate and job growth continue to outpace the state and nation. Click here to view Nickelsberg’s presentation>>

Tracey Grose, Vice President of the Institute, delved deeper into the region’s current economic upswing, attributing a solid employment growth rate of 3.3 percent to the thriving technology, information and construction sectors. She noted 52 percent of the United States venture capital investment is in the Bay Area while commercial real estate is white-hot in San Francisco and the East and South Bays. Grose cautioned, though the economy is growing, one couldn’t feed a family on GDP. A dearth of middle-income jobs and growing income disparity pose a real and significant problem to the economic stability of the region. Click here to view Grose’s presentation>>

A scintillating panel moderated by Steven Tiell, Director of Technology Vision at Accenture, followed on the opportunities that are emerging through the vast new streams of data generated by the smart city with thought leaders Laurie Yoler, SVP Business Development & President of Qualcomm; Bill Mitchel, Sr. Director of World Wide Public Sector at Microsoft; Ed Church, Executive Director for Institute for Environmental Entrepreneurship; and Vijay Sammeta, Chief Information Officer for the City of San Jose.