Solano County’s economy is improving slowly and could begin taking off by 2014, a Northern California think tank said Friday.
Experts at the Business Forecasting Center of the University of the Pacific in Stockton predict robust economic growth emanating from Silicon Valley and progressing north to San Francisco should reach Solano County in about two years.
“In a lot of ways, the recovery is centered in the South Bay and is moving slowly north,” Jeff Michael, the center’s director, told the Times-Herald newspaper in Vallejo, Solano’s largest city.
But the region’s depressed housing market combined with falling government spending will keep output low and unemployment above 10 percent for the near future, Michael said.
Solano still is among the weakest areas of the Bay Area in terms of job growth, he said.
“It’s good the recovery is spreading north but bad that it’s a little slower moving in your direction,” Michael said.
Unemployment continues above 10 percent in Solano, although the county’s 10.5 jobless rate is lower than 10.9 rate statewide.
Nationally, 8.3 percent of workers are unemployed.
“We’re expecting improvement; the recovery is progressing,” Michael said.
“Even the hardest hit industries like construction have found the bottom, so we’re seeing more broad-based growth.”
The center’s January 2012 California forecast also predicts personal income in the Vallejo-Fairfield metropolitan area to grow by more than 2 percent in 2012, an amount Michael called “healthy.”
Real personal income in Solano fell by 3 percent last year, the report said.