SONOMA COUNTY -- A new report on the economic health of Sonoma County predicts that rising levels of employment, innovation by local technology firms and hotel occupancy will lead to a stronger growth for the county this year, according to a spring 2011 local economic report by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board and research partner Moody’s Analytics.

Some highlights include:

The county’s total employment is at its highest level since the end of 2009, partially because of boosting employment in technology and construction.

Accelerating job growth will push the county unemployment rate below 9 percent by the middle of 2012.

Technology, particularly medical device firms, remains as a key industry driving growth in Sonoma County. Demand for new medical technologies and drugs will be a positive driver.

The strengthening state and U.S. recoveries will boost demand for the county’s tourism related industries. Local hotel occupancies are higher than a year ago, and hotels no longer rely on discounted rates to fill rooms.

Sonoma County’s recovery will strengthen in 2011, led by tech, tourism, and construction.

The full report can be found at