Thursday, December 07, 2006

Forecasters: County Economy in Good Shape

Forecasters: County Economy in Good Shape
By Ines Bebea

FAIRFIELD - Solano County's economy will have a strong finish in 2006, economic forecasters predicted.

While job growth in California for 2006 through 2008 will slow to 1.3 percent, the Vallejo-Fairfield metropolitan area is forecast to have job growth of 2.3 percent for the same period, generated by construction and services industries.

For 2007 through 2009, the economy will continue to grow but at a slower pace, to an average growth rate of 4.8 percent, according to the quarterly state and regional forecast report to be released Friday by the University of the Pacific's Business Forecasting Center.

"The up and down swings in energy prices coupled with a pronounced slowing in the housing sector have created a level of economic uncertainty in California," said Chuck Williams, dean of the Eberhardt School of Business from the University of the Pacific. "Economic growth will slow significantly, but a recession is not in the cards."

In the Vallejo-Fairfield metropolitan area, nonfarm jobs increased to 131,600 in October from 131,100 in September. That is a significant change from a year ago when in October 2005 nonfarm jobs were 129,700, according to the Labor Market Information Division of the Employment Development Department.

Of nonfarm jobs, the number of employees in the professional and business services went from 11,800 in September to 12,100 in October. That sector experienced the second highest job increase after government jobs with a workforce of 12,100 in October compared to 11,000 in October 2005.

For 2007, Office Team, a Menlo Park-based company that specializes is administrative staffing projects, predicted the fastest growing industries in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii will be health care, financial services and construction. The positions in strongest demand will be senior administrative assistant and administrative assistant.

Overall in the last decade, the unemployment rate in the area has gone from its highest at 9 percent in 1996 to 4.2 percent this year. The lowest rates of unemployment were recorded in December 1999 and October 2000 at 3.9 percent. The labor statistics were collected by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or


Nonfarm jobs in the Vallejo-Fairfield metropolitan area:

October, 2006: 131,600

September, 2006: 131,000

October 2005: 129,700

Source: Employment Development Department

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