SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The country continues to struggle economically, including many small and big businesses in the Bay Area.

Jim Wunderman is the President and CEO of the Bay Area Council, which is a business-sponsored, public policy advocacy organization for the nine-county Bay Area.

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He said in the latest survey of businesses in the region, he found a mixed bag.

“If you’re a small or medium-sized business in the Bay Area, there’s some likelihood that you’re looking ahead to hiring, which is good news for people looking for a job. That compares well to the rest of the state and the nation,” Wunderman said. “The larger companies are either holding their own or they’re dispensing with some of their regional employment. I think it’s still tough to be a big business in this region, in this state and want to grow your workforce a lot here.”

Wunderman said that while things are mostly status quo in the Bay Area, it’s still considered a difficult place to do business.

“In a very competitive global economy, companies often choose to put part of their workforce somewhere else, maybe in another state or another country,” he said “If you talk to CEO’s about California, they rate the state 50 out of 50 when it comes to being a place to do business. That does not bode well for us.”

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KCBS Interviews Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council:

Wunderman believes that California has to change some of the regulations that are prohibiting businesses from truly succeeding and expanding.

“I think we’ve got to compete where we can. We’re not going to be the lowest cost place to do business. But what we can be is more attractive and show some interest in keeping our businesses growing here and attracting some new ones,” said Wunderman. “(Other states) have funds set aside to attract new and developing businesses. They have locations, tax abatements, various incentives and several years of not paying taxes to bring in new jobs that otherwise won’t be there if you don’t get them.”

Overall, Wunderman said he is optimistic that things will turn around for not only the Bay Area, but the entire country.

“We’re in decent mode. I think that has largely been driven by the IT industry, tourism is looking up, health care is still pretty solid and education is holding its own. That’s pretty positive after we’ve been getting pretty negative reports,” he said. “(The Bay Area) job outlook is slightly positive. If you’re in San Francisco or down in Silicon Valley, you’ve got a pretty good shot. If you’re hunting for a job over in the East Bay or Solano County, (things) aren’t looking so good. You have to be able to pick your spots and opportunities.”

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