Monday, March 9, 2015

Report projects economic growth for Solano County

From page A1 | March 07, 2015 |
FAIRFIELD — Solano County has experienced continued economic growth and an expanding economic base, according to a new economic and community progress report.

The report reveals an increase in jobs, population, gross county product and housing values from 2013 to 2014.

Solano has moved from recovery out of the recession into expansion; following the lead of national, state and Bay Area economies, the report indicates.

The 2014 Index of Economic and Community Progress will be presented Tuesday to the Solano County Board of Supervisors. The board meets at 9 a.m. at the County Government Center, 675
Texas St.

The report was prepared by Robert Eyler, principal of Economic Forensics and Analytics in Petaluma, for the Solano Economic Development Corporation and the county. Eyler will be the keynote speaker when the report is presented at a Solano EDC breakfast event Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn, 2200 Gateway Court.

The need for an annual report on the health of the county was recognized in 2007 after a series of economic summits cited a need for more fact-based information to guide leaders in both the public and private sectors.

Among key economic factors highlighted in the 71-page report was Solano’s increase of 2,300 new jobs in 2014, reflecting a 1.8 percent growth.

The index reported there were 131,600 people working at Solano businesses, governmental jobs and nonprofits as of Jan. 1. The county’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was at 6.9 percent as 2015 began.

The gross county product grew by 3.8 percent in 2013, the latest data for Solano, according to the report.

With a growing economy and reduced government resources, the private sector is becoming more of an engine for growth in Solano County, the report indicates.

Meanwhile, wages in Solano County remain competitive with respect to other counties in the region, especially the urban, Bay Area counties where wages have risen quickly, according to the report.

The continued growth has been good for the county’s housing industry. Housing prices have continued their recovery and foreclosure activity has slowed immensely, the report cites.

Likewise, government revenue from property and sales taxes continued to rise in 2014, according to the report.

Among community changes highlighted in the report is a forecast that Solano and Sacramento counties will be the two fastest growing counties in Solano County’s region between 2014 and 2060.

Another highlight cited in the report was a population growth for Solano of 1.15 percent, based on an increase of 4,844 people in 2014.

A change was noted, meanwhile, as domestic immigration – from places inside the United States – outpaced foreign immigration to Solano County for the first time since 2009.

The county did follow a trend with regard to its aging population. Solano’s population continues to get older, along with that of other Bay Area counties and the state, the index reports.

The report contained good news in terms of education in the county.

Graduation rates in Solano County rose above the state in 2012-13 and more students are ready for University of California and California State University schools than any school year since 2007-08, according to the report.

Reach Kevin W. Green at 427-6974 or