Thursday, June 30, 2005

East Bay economy to continue growing

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The gross metro product of Alameda and Contra Costa counties is expected to grow by almost 15 percent in the next five years according to a new forecast from the University of the Pacific. Solano County's gross metro product is expected to grow by 17.7 percent, according to the report.

In the report released Wednesday, Center Director Sean Snaith said that the California economy, as well as the economy of the East Bay, is 'continuing to expand at a healthy pace.'

The latest state and regional forecast from the Stockton university's Business Forecasting Center anticipates employment in Solano County to grow by 13 percent by 2010, fron 127,400 jobs in 2005 to 143,900 jobs in 2010. Employment in Alameda and Contra Costa counties is expected to grow by 6.5 percent, from 1.03 million jobs to 1.10 million jobs in 2010.

The center said California's overall economic outlook is quite sunny.

'The long-run outlook for California's economy is strong and by 2030 real gross state output should exceed $3.7 trillion,' said Snaith, in a statement. 'Some of the highest-growth regions in the state will be found in California's Central Valley as economic muscle will be added to the agricultural backbone of this region.'

Shorter term, the center predicts that California's payrolls will grow at 1.6 percent annually from now through 2007; state unemployment will hold steady at 5.8 percent and, California housing starts will hold steady this year and start to fall off in 2006-2007, as mortgage rates rise. The current housing market, the center said, resembles "a soufflé -- a delicate combination of many factors, threatening to deflate with any change in environment or ingredients."

The center was founded last year. Part of the Eberhardt School of Business, it produces quarterly economic forecasts of the United States, California and 11 metropolitan areas from Sacramento to Fresno and the Bay Area.

More information from the report is available at

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