Friday, October 14, 2005

Study Predicts Economic Growth in Fairfield

Article Last Updated: Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005 - 11:54:50 pm PDT

Study Predicts Economic Growth in Fairfield
By Christine Cubé

FAIRFIELD - Personal income in Fairfield is expected to increase faster than in the rest of the state, averaging 6.5 percent growth a year, according to a new study by the University of the Pacific Business Forecasting Center.

The center released its quarterly forecasts for 11 metropolitan areas in Northern and Central California.

The Vallejo/Fairfield outlook indicates employment in the region is expected to rise steadily at more than 2 percent a year, starting this year through 2008.

That affirms the recent local unemployment figures released by the state Employment Development Department.

Solano County's jobless rate fell slightly in August, breaking a two-month static unemployment rate for the better part of the summer. The county jobless rate was recorded at 5.3 percent, down from the 5.5 percent in both June and July.

The Business Forecasting Center found that the strongest job growth will take place in the services sector, where all sectors combined are expected to jump an average of nearly 4 percent a year. That translates into roughly 7,000 new jobs locally between this year and 2008.

The construction industry also is predicted to have significant job growth. According to the center, the continuing trend of Bay Area workers migrating east in search of affordable housing is expected to fuel employment growth in the construction sector, which will peak this year but start slowing down over the next few years.

While manufacturing also is slowing down, job gains will be realized as companies like Genentech and Bio-Energy Systems continue to perform well, the center said.

Strong employment will turn into lower jobless rates in the region. The center predicts the unemployment rate in Vallejo/Fairfield will fall from the 5.7 percent recorded last year to 4.8 percent by 2008.

Significant events listed in the quarterly forecast include the opening of Highway 37 through Vallejo in August. The $124 million project is critical because it was the only east-west connector between Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Solano counties, the report said.

Other significant local events include:

- Fairfield Redevelopment Agency moving forward with its revitalization plan. The group plans to buy 19 four-plex apartment houses - to the tune of up to $9.5 million - tear them down and develop a new, affordable housing complex. The project area directly involves parts of Pennsylvania and Alaska avenues, Cunningham Drive and Eton Court.

- Fairfield City Council's approval of a $205,000 economic development campaign designed to help attract new and larger businesses to Fairfield.

- The first phase of the Nut Tree redevelopment in Vacaville began in August. The $200 million phase will include retail, offices and the Nut Tree Family Park.

Reach Christine Cubé at 427-6934 or

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