If you want your pay to go up quickly, Napa and Sonoma counties seem to be among the best places in the nation to work, according to new federal figures.
The Napa and Santa Rosa metropolitan areas ranked Nos. 4 and 5 in national growth rates for personal income in the past three years, based on U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates and analysis from Governing.com, a public-policy website. Napa County’s inflation-adjusted income per capita jumped 12 percent to $61,483 last year, and Sonoma’s 11.9 percent to $53,520.
Those growth rates followed Merced, up 13.7 percent to $36,185; Greeley, Colo., 13.4 percent, $42,787; and Provo-Orem, Utah, 12.2 percent, $34,227.
Sonoma County benefits from being in commute distance to high-paying jobs in San Francisco but still a place where homes are more affordable than in the city, Sean Randolph of Bay Area Council Economic Institute told Governing.com. The county also has a more diversified economy than other fast-growing regions in California, with Kaiser Permanente and Graton Resort & Casino as the county’s two largest employers, Randolph told the site.
Randolph reportedly said Napa Valley has the advantage of the improved tourism sector, which has boosted wineries, hotels and other local businesses. But spending from households with expendable income or second homes in the county helped to prop up the region as the economy has recovered, he told the site.