Solano County saw a gain of 1,200 jobs last year, but that is overshadowed by the longer-term effects of the recent recession -- overall employment down and the median home price greatly diminished.

Those are some conclusions of the "2011 Index of Economic and Community Progress" which delivers a multi-pronged look at how Solano County has fared in the recession.

Released Tuesday the county-produced document gives a little good news but also indicates just how much the current recession has hurt, Solano County Public Communications Officer Steve Pierce said.

In short, "we have more jobs but larger unemployment," Pierce said.

That seemingly paradoxical message stems from several trends as the economic hard times continue impacting employers, workers and homeowners, Pierce said.

But while the recent recession has undoubtedly hurt, Pierce said Solano's plight could be much worse.

"All things considered it's not as bad as it could be or as bad as we think it is," Pierce said.

Among those adding new jobs locally are government sectors and private ventures in education and health services, retail trade, leisure, hospitality, and professional and business services, according to the report.

In the Index's introduction, Solano Economic Development Corporation President Sandy Person said the county has made some positive strides over the last decade. Those, however, have been "overshadowed by the ravages of a deep recession fueled by the housing market collapse."

Those items on the negative side include a decline in the self-employed, lowered housing prices rolling back property tax revenues, and a still "unacceptably high" unemployment rate due to shrinkage of the region's employment base, Person said.

But, despite the "black cloud" over the silver lining, the private sector has steadily increased its share of the local job base and the actual number of county residents employed has risen slightly, she wrote.

Bright spots include expansion among green energy-related companies, including the opening of Blu Homes on Mare Island to produce eco-friendly energy efficient prefab homes.

"Our economy is moving, and it's moving in the right direction again," Person said.

A longer look at the county's economy paints an even brighter picture over the past decade with gains in local industry employment, gross domestic produce and per capita income.

A five-year view reflects the brunt of the recession gives a more somber picture -- local industry saw a loss of 9.700 jobs and the gross domestic product shrank 0.7 percent.

In addition, notices of defaults rose 432 percent and the median price of homes went down 60 percent.

"This Index affirms that families are hurting from the economy, but it also points to some bright spots that will help us recover from the recession," Solano County Mike Reagan said in a written statement.

The Index was launched in 2007 after a series of economic summits illustrated a need for more facts and figures to guide economic decisions in the public and private sector.

Contact staff writer Sarah Rohrs at or (707) 553-6832.