Solano County is showing signs of recovery in the wake of the Great Recession, according to findings released this week. While the report gives reason for optimism, it also stresses caution, "as some indicators are still reeling from the economic turmoil of the last six years."
"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 Economic Development Corporation. "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."
Read the details of the finding and share your thoughts in the comments below:
The 2012 Index examines the 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 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 recession view did have some bright spots. Between 2006 and 2010, seven local industry sectors showed positive growth in gross domestic product and five experience gains in local jobs. Health Care dominated the growth in both GDP and local job gains.
Local industry employment hit bottom in 2010. Since that time, private industry firms located in Solano County have added back 4,200 jobs, but those 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 Solano County Index of Economic and Community Progress project was launched in 2007 after a series of economic summits defined a need for more fact-based information to guide efforts by leaders in both the public and private sectors to expand the long-term viability of the Solano County economy. In 2011, the Index became a project for County staff, in cooperation with the Solano EDC, to maintain as a web-based report and update throughout the year. The Index was expanded to include comparisons in many instances to the Sacramento Area, the rest of the Bay Area, California and the United States. The 2012 edition includes the technical oversight and objective analysis of Dr. Robert Eyler of Economic Forensics and Analytics.
The complete 2012 Index is available online at www.solanocounty.com/economicindex. Past indexes, cluster analysis on the life science, energy and food chain clusters in Solano County are also available on the website.