FAIRFIELD — Solano County has taken its annual economic pulse and found one that, while not strong, is growing stronger.
“Once again, there are trend lines for Solano County that are starting to point in the right direction,” Solano Economic Development Corp. President Sandy Person wrote in the report that the county released Thursday.
And if such comments don’t hint at immediate boom times, they come against the backdrop of a local economy battered since 2007 by the Great Recession and a tepid recovery.
“Unemployment is inching downward and the local industry sectors dismantled by the housing market collapse are seeing positive growth again,” Person wrote. “Not everything is moving in the right direction just yet, but it appears most of the indicators have stopped moving in the wrong direction.”
She views this as the start of a recovery that can be built upon.
The report looks at employment and other statistics through different periods of time. Those periods are what the report calls the “long view” from 2000 to 2012, the “recession view” from 2006 to 2010 and the “recovery view” from 2010 to 2012.
For example, the county during the recession period lost 12,000 local jobs, or 9.2 percent of the total. But during the recovery period, it gained 3,067 jobs, or 2.6 percent. And over the long-view period, it gained 4,367 jobs or 3.7 percent.
These include both private sector and government jobs. The government from 2000 to 2012 lost 833 jobs, but the private sector added 5,200 jobs.
Health care was a dominate force in private sector growth. It added 4,983 jobs from 2000 to 2012 and represents 13 percent of the county’s local industry employment, compared to 9.2 percent in 2000.
But construction has been hit hard. It added 858 jobs during the recovery period, but lost 5,200 jobs during the recession period, or 41 percent of the total. From 2000 to 2012, construction lost 1,642 jobs, or 16.6 percent of the total, the report said.
Construction job losses rippled through the economy into other job sectors, the report said. For example, professional and business services during the recession period lost 2,700 jobs and from 2000 to 2012 lost 2,567 jobs, or 22.3 percent of the total.
On the jobs front, the county had more people employed at one point in 2012 than in 2000, 195,850 to 185,200. But the labor force also grew over these 12 years, from 194,200 people to 217,850. As a result, the unemployment rate increased from 4.6 percent to 10.1 percent, the report said.
Solano County’s employment numbers got hurt by job declines in the Bay Area and Sacramento area, the report said. The high number of local residents who commute to jobs in other regions – about 71,500 people – make the county susceptible to regional economic conditions, it said.
Like other economic data, gross domestic product – the sum of consumer, government and business spending – has seen ups and downs over the long-view period. It totaled $10.8 billion in 2001, grew to $14.2 billion in 2006, then fell to $13.9 billion in 2010.
The report used median household income and per-capita income and other data to measure the standard of living. Here, the message was mixed.
For example, per-capita income in inflation-adjusted dollars grew 3.6 percent from 2000 to 2011, to $38,078. That compares to $43,674 for the state and $41,560 for the United States.
But household median income from 2000 to 2011 fell 9.7 percent to $63,090. The peak was $73,519 in 2008. The statewide median household income in 2011 was $52,275 and the national median income was $50,502.
Solano County’s total assessed property values reached $51.2 billion in 2007, but by early 2012 had shed $13.2 billion, or 26 percent. Local governments get much of their money from property taxes.
The Solano Economic Development Corp. breakfast on March 28 will feature a report on the county’s 2012 Index of Economic and Community Progress by economist Robert Eyler. The event begins at 8 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn at 2200 Gateway Court in Fairfield. Please call 864-1855 for ticket information.
Solano County staff, along with the Solano Economic Development Corp., produced the latest economic index.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.