Monday, March 25, 2013

Economy improving a bit in Solano County

By Reporter Staff
Posted: 03/22/2013 01:06:01 AM PDT

Solano County is showing some positive signs of economic recovery but still finds some areas reeling from the financial turmoil of the last six years, according to a report released Thursday.
The 2012 Index of Economic and Community Progress, which will be the subject of next week's Solano Economic Development Corp. gathering, includes an analysis by Robert Eyler of Economic Forensics and Analytics.
"Once again, there are trend lines for Solano County that are starting to point in the right direction," said Sandy Person, president of the Solano EDC. "Not everything is moving in the right direction just yet, but it appears most of the indicators have stopped going in the wrong direction. It's a start of a recovery that we can capitalize on."
The 2012 Index examines local economic condition from three perspectives. The long view goes from 2000 to 2012, which compares the end of the 1990s cycle to the recent recovery. The recession view goes from 2006 (the peak year) to 2010 (the bottom year) in the local employment market. The recovery view represents changes since 2010.
Over the long view, Solano County had a net gain of 4,367 jobs from firms located in the county, a 28.3 percent increase in the gross domestic product, a 3.6 percent increase in the per capita income and a 9.7 percent decline in median household income. While Solano County has been better than the Bay Area, the Sacramento region and the rest of the state in retaining local jobs, the number of residents seeking employment grew faster than the troubled regional economy could support. The number of unemployed people in 2012 has more than doubled since 2000.
The somberness of the long view happened primarily between 2006 and 2010. As a result of the local housing market collapse and the Great Recession, local firms shed 12,000 jobs and the gross domestic product from private industry shrank 4 percent. Per capita income declined 6.8 percent, taxable sales and assessed property values declined nearly 25 percent and quarterly foreclosure figures were breaking annual records, the report found.
The recession view held some bright spots. Between 2006 and 2010, seven local industry sectors showed growth in gross domestic product and five experienced gains in jobs. Health care dominated the growth in both GDP and local job gains, the report noted.
Local industry employment hit bottom in 2010. Since then, Solano's private industries have added back 4,200 jobs, but the gains were offset by government sector declines of 1,133 jobs. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Solano County dropped to 9.6 percent in December 2012, down from 12.2 percent in December 2010. That translates to 7,050 more residents employed.
"Supervisor Mike Reagan and I pushed for the Index to give us a better perspective on what is happening in the economy and what we can do collectively to move the economy forward," said Supervisor John Vasquez. "In cooperation with the Solano EDC, the county is building the internal capacity to monitor, analyze and report the key indicators shaping our local economy."
The complete 2012 Index is available online at Past indexes and analyses of the life science, energy and food chain clusters in Solano County are also available on the website.
Thursday's Solano EDC gathering will include a presentation on the report by Eyler. The Solano EDC breakfast starts with registration and networking at 7:30 a.m., with the presentation beginning at 8, at the Hilton Garden Inn, Fairfield. Cost is $25 for members, $35 for non-members. To register or obtain more information, contact Solano EDC at 864-1855.