UCLA economist: Sonoma County job growth tops California, nation

ROHNERT PARK -- Sonoma County's economic recession that led to more than 25,000 jobs lost is mostly over, as job growth through most of last year outpaced that of the Bay Area, state and nation as well as nearly matching national growth leader North Dakota, an economist with the closely watched UCLA Anderson Forecast told an annual gathering of civic and business leaders in the county.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="160"] Jerry Nickelsburg[/caption]

Surprising job growth in the county is in the industry sectors that are growing nationwide, according to Jerry Nickelsburg, Ph.D., senior economist of UCLA's Anderson School of Management, told several hundred at the Doubletree hotel.

"In Sonoma County, almost all the recession is over with," Dr. Nickelsburg said.

California job growth of nearly 2 percent in 2012 through November compared with the same pace the year before was the 10th best in the country, but Sonoma County's payroll growth of more than 5 percent through much of the year bested growth in other regions of the state, according to Dr. Nickelsburg.

"You all are up there with North Dakota, but people actually live here," he said.

[caption id="attachment_67776" align="alignleft" width="300"] Sonoma County's nonfarm job growth ranks barely behind that of North Dakota, the fastest-growing state in the U.S. (courtesy of UCLA Anderson Forecast)[/caption]

Annual job growth off the farm or vineyard in Sonoma County, at almost 5 percent, was barely behind that of North Dakota.

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