Monday, March 31, 2014

Solano business leaders, officials hear positive economic news


29 EDC breakfast 1
Dr. Robert Eyler speaks during the Solano Economic Development Corporation breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield, Friday. Eyler spoke about the index of economic and community progress. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)
March 29, 2014        
FAIRFIELD — Solano County is seeing, by and large, positive economic and community growth and that trend should continue into the future.

Those are the encouraging words local business leaders and city officials heard Friday at the monthly Solano Economic Development Corp. get-together at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Robert Eyler from Economic Forensics and Analytics said the Great Recession is over but there is still room for improvement.

His sixth annual Index of Economic and Community Progress covers changes in the local economy and community in relation to California as a whole and select areas such as the Bay Area, the North Bay and metropolitan Sacramento. The expansive index of data delves into such items as wages, unemployment, local jobs, housing, population growth and projections, home prices, high school dropout rates and city overviews.

The good news included the fact that Solano County is growing as a whole, unemployment numbers are falling, tax revenue is rising as are home prices, but there are still concerns. Those include the sustainability of the slow but steady growth, the standard of living is still lagging and while Solano County is growing, it’s not growing as robustly as other California counties.

Eyler also cautioned that the unemployment change is not because of job creation and it’s unknown if some are moving into unemployment or simply dropping off the grid. He said this isn’t strictly a Solano County issue – it’s happening all over the United States.

Vacaville Councilwoman Dilenna Harris said she was encouraged by the positive housing news, which she called a critical component to enticing growth, but at the same time she raised concerns about not knowing whether the change in unemployment numbers translated into entrepreneurial endeavors or if “something else is happening.”

“It would be nice to have those numbers,” she said.

Both Harris and Suisun City Councilman Mike Segala said this type of information gives them a direction for the future.

(Eyler) shows us where we came from and where we’re going,” Segala said. “I like that he doesn’t focus on what we’re doing right now . . . but projects (for) the future.

“He gives us the tools we needs as elected (officials) to take back to the cities – this is what we need to look at.”

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