Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cities Generate Growth By Attracting Employers

Cities Generate Growth By Attracting Employers
By Ines Bebea

FAIRFIELD - The Fairfield-Vallejo metropolitan area ranked No. 22 in a list of the best 200 performing cities in 2006, according to a recent report on job growth by an economic think tank.

For its report, the Santa Monica-based Milken Institute ranked U.S. metropolitan areas based on their ability to create and sustain short- and long-term jobs, and their use of technology for regional economic growth.

The results have business advocates hopeful about the economic future in Solano County, especially after a 2005 report by the institute that ranked Fairfield-Vallejo at No. 41.

"The numbers by the Milken Institute show that our ability to attract employers and labor is part of a trend, and a long-term trend in our economic development," said Mike Ammann, president of the Solano Economic Development Corporation. "We have a track record for companies that are expanding like Genentech, and it tells companies in that industry sector and others that we have the room and capabilities to assist and handle growth."

According to Ammann, Solano County has seen growth in employers from the Bay Area who are bringing high-paying jobs to local cities, where employees can work and afford to live.

"As far as biotech, we ranked No. 1 for the Bay Area that includes San Jose, Emeryville and San Francisco," Ammann said. "Then we have companies like Copart and the California State Fund that have grown over the years. When we have to describe the opportunities available to employers, we have an array of success stories."

The Riverside-SanBernardino-Ontario metropolitan area was the only one in California in the top 10. It ranked third after Ocala, Fla., and Wilmington, N.C.

Success stories such as Copart and available space at competitive prices are what will continue to drive growth in the county, said Tim Ridosh, marketing director for the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce.

"Unlike other cities in the Bay Area, we still have land available and good prices for companies that are thinking about expanding or relocating," Ridosh said. "And although our home foreclosure numbers are high, we have not felt the effects yet, and our business growth will allow us to bounce back."

Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or ibebea@dailyrepublic.net.

California metropolitan areas ranking in Top 50*
No. 3 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario
No. 17 Bakersfield
No. 22 Fairfield-Vallejo
No. 25 Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville
No. 27 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura
No. 45 Visalia-Porterville
No. 49 Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine
Source: 2007 Best Performing Cities, Milken Institute

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