Friday, January 26, 2007

Solano Led Region's '05 Job Growth

Solano Led Region's '05 Job Growth
Economist Predicts Continued Hirings
By Times-Herald, Vallejo

Solano County added jobs at a faster clip than the rest of the region in 2006 and should continue to grow economically at a moderate pace, a Bay Area planning agency predicted Thursday.

Paul Fassinger, economist and research director for the Association of Bay Area Governments, said Solano County's 1.8 percent job growth rate last year matched Santa Clara's and outpaced the rest of the region, which grew at 1.6 percent.

"We expect to see the county add 2,000 jobs this year and about 1,800 jobs in 2008, slightly slower than 2006," Fassinger said. "We think this is likely due to the softening housing market."

Most of the new jobs will be in construction, retail and wholesale trade as well as in services like health, education, leisure and hospitality, Fassinger said.

The study suggests the Bay Area's economy for 2007-2008 will grow moderately, Fassinger said.

"Our region's growth is impacted by the housing market, the national economy and concerns about potential growth in energy prices," Fassinger said.

He forecasted that the Bay Area's inflation rate for 2007 will be 2.4 percent, and 2.8 percent for 2008.

Statewide, California Department of Finance chief economist Howard Roth projected continued economic deceleration for the first half of 2007, caused mostly by decreased residential construction. He said the state and national economies should pick up in 2008, though major risks from a continued housing downtown and an interest rate jump still apply.

ABAG's Randy Deshazo said Bay Area taxable sales are steady and indications are that sales and household incomes will continue increasing and the job market should continue to improve.

Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the Bay Area's nine counties and more than 100 cities.

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