Fastest growth in life sciences; risks on education, incomesSOLANO COUNTY -- No longer considered to be a rest stop between the Bay Area and Sacramento, Solano County is making its mark as an emerging center for micro business employment and life sciences, although the region faces increasing challenges on education and incomes.
These observations are among findings reported in the Solano County 2010 Index of Economic and Community Progress, third edition, prepared by Collaborative Economics for the Solano Economic Development Corp.
By far the fastest growing industrial group in the county is Life Sciences, expanding by 7 percent a year, with 2,100 employees.
[caption id="attachment_29405" align="alignleft" width="266" caption="Mike Ammann, president of the Solano Economic Development Corporation"][/caption]
“These trend numbers reveal that our community and business leaders have made wise choices on how to grow both physically as well as how to connect economically as the heart of a growing 12 million consumer Northern California Mega Region,” said Mike Ammann, president of the Solano Economic Development Corp.
“In 30 short years, Solano’s economy has changed from a pair of agriculture and government services-based industry segments into a diverse economy with five major new clusters, including life sciences along with biotechnology, renewable energy production, professional services and higher education, state-of-the-art health care centers and logistics.”
“This insightful document provides an objective analysis of key indicators shaping our local economy,” said Michael Reagan, chair of Solano County Board of Supervisors. “Even with the realities of the recession, we see reasons for optimism and signs of resiliency.”
With an economy dominated by small businesses, local employment in micro-enterprises (those with 10 or fewer employees) continues to outpace total employment gains in Solano representing 36 percent of total county employment, up from 24 percent in 1995.
Total employment in micro-enterprises grew by 68 percent during the same period – exceeding total county employment, which grew by only 14 percent.
Even during the recession, the number of establishments opening (3,400 businesses opened or moved into the county between January 2008 and 2009) has eclipsed the number closing (1,000) or moving out of the county.
Between 1995 and 2009, the annual number of establishment openings was nearly double the number of closings.
Furthermore, some 18 percent of businesses coming into Solano came from outside California in 2008-‘09.
Several trends are impacting the region:
While monthly job losses in Solano fared better than California in recent years, real per capital income has declined in the county more than the state as a whole as earnings declined (with the greatest measure of stability derived from the presence of Travis Air Force Base, employing over 15,000, resulting in personal income gains).
Per capita and median income
As incomes stagnated across the nation in recent years, since 2008 the income gap between Solano County and the nation was at its lowest since 1990.
Median household income has fluctuated over the past 10 years from a high of $75,000 in 2000 to a low of $66,000 in 2004.
In 2009, median household incomes fell by 7 percent to $66,700, resetting incomes to 2006 levels.