Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Index of economic progress shows positive strides for Solano County

By Melissa Murphy, The Reporter, Vacaville

Posted: 03/07/15, 7:46 PM PST |

Solano County has moved out of recovering from the recession into a state of expanding its economic base, according to the 2014 Index of Economic and Community Progress.

The index report prepared by Robert Eyler, a principal at Economic Forensics and Analytics in Petaluma, will be presented to the Solano County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. Additionally, Eyler will bring the report forward during a monthly gathering of the Solano Economic Development Corporation at 8 a.m. Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield.

The Index tracks key economic and community indicators that are shaping the local economy. The Index is part of a project that was launched in 2007 with an aim to obtain more fact-based information to guide efforts to expand the long-term viability of the county’s economy.

The 2014 Index set out to answer the question, “How is Solano County doing economically?”

In a report to the board, staff noted that the Index shows that “Solano County is becoming more diversified in its number of employers/economic base with the private sector leading the way into this long-awaited expansion.”

The full Index is available online at www.solanocounty.com/economicindex.

The “key highlights” from the Index, according to the report, note the county’s changing economy.

In 2014, Solano expanded with 2,300 new jobs, a growth of 1.8 percent and the county’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate is at 6.9 percent as it begins 2015.

Additionally, the Index shows that “with a growing economy and reduced government resources, the private sector is becoming more of an engine for growth” in the county.

All standards of living measures are rising in the 2013 data and suggest that 2014 and 2015 also will be years of rising living standards for the county.

While base employment fell a bit in 2014, locally serving jobs grew, a “sign of economic expansion,” according to the Index.

Solano continues to change.

The Index reports that the population grew by 4,844 people in 2014, a growth of 1.15 percent, most of the growth was from places within the United States instead of foreign migration, a first since 2009.

Even though the Index shows that the county’s population continues to get older, it also is forecasted that Solano and Sacramento counties will be the two fastest growing counties in Solano’s region between 2014 and 2060.

Other highlights include a rise in graduation rates and more students are ready for University of California and California State University than any school year since 2007-08.

Meanwhile, housing prices have continued their recovery and government revenue from property and sales taxes continued to rise in 2014.

The Solano County Board of Supervisors meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the County Government Center, 675 Texas St., Fairfield.