Silicon Valley showing signs of recovery

February 5, 2010 8:21:02 PM PST
There are early signs that $585 million in stimulus money is starting to create jobs in San Jose.

Solyndra in Fremont is building a new fabrication plant to make solar panels. That will double the number of jobs there to 2,000.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., toured the facility Friday. She is optimistic that the economy is about to rebound.

"It's true that the economy, except for the green tech area, has slowed, but I feel confident, listening to some of the CEOs of high tech and biotech [that] maybe we're on the other side of this recession," she said.

Amberwood, a family owned cabinetry shop in San Jose, is getting a trickle down boost from the Solyndra expansion. It is making reception desks and cabinets for the new facility.

Amberwood laid off 55 employees last year.

With orders starting to come in, the company recently brought on five people and might add on 20 more later in the year.

"It's been very difficult, and obviously you're sort of in survival mode, and I do see light at the end of the tunnel," Terrie Field said. "I'm very optimistic for this year, and I think that projects like Solyndra are definitely going to help us."

Cabinet maker Geraldo Aguilar, 30, got his job back.

"They called me back a couple months ago, so I'm happy and very excited to be back; we'll see what this year brings for all of us," he said.

To use Silicon Valley as an example, the recession caused nearly 100,000 jobs to be lost here. The clean tech industry has created 12,000 jobs. So for job recovery, it is going to be a long road ahead.

Kim Walesh is working on San Jose's job creation strategy. She recognizes it will be a long process.

"I think it's probably years until we see job levels back to what they were a number of years ago," she said. "Hopefully by the end of this year, we'll start to see the economy turning around."