Their numbers vary slightly but economists are like-minded in their view of the local economy. It will continue growing this year and next — just not as much in the past couple of years. And the San Fernando Valley’s economy is expected to outperform Los Angeles County’s and the state’s through 2008. That’s the take from the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at California State University, Northridge. Daniel Blake, the center’s director, said the Valley, long considered a bedroom suburb of Los Angeles, is now a fully balanced community with an integrated economic base that employs a work force roughly equal to the number of its employed residents. Most sectors added jobs, but manufacturing continued to decline, the report noted. “It seems like if one area slows down a little bit, another area will pick up. The Valley has been a fairly dynamic economy,” Blake said when the report was released late in 2006. “We’re growing jobs faster than the population.” Valley unemployment insurance claims bottomed out in December 2005 and returned to normal seasonal patterns last year. And seasonally adjusted unemployment claims are currently below the lowest level recorded during the Valley’s 1995-2000 economic recovery. The residential real estate sector, which began slowing at the start of the 2005 fourth quarter, continued a long slow slide. And while it might feel like a recession to those in real estate, the housing cool-down won’t spread that condition to the rest of the state’s economy, economists at UCLA’s Anderson Forecast concluded this spring. “While there’s some wiggle room on how weak real estate will be and how much other sectors will offset this weakness, there is still no other sector that looks poised to combine with real estate to generate enough job losses to cause a recession,” UCLA economist Ryan Ratcliff said in his assessment. He is calling for job growth this year of 1.3 percent, moderating to 0.9 percent the next year, then ticking back up to 1.6 percent in 2009. And he doesn’t anticipate that the housing-sector troubles will trigger a replay of the early 1990s, when prices collapsed and foreclosures skyrocketed. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!