Do the latest positive employment numbers for Solano County signal an end to the long recession and the start of sustained economic growth?
That was the big question late last week after the California Employment Development Department in Sacramento released unemployment figures for August.
“It’s positive,” state labor market consultant Linda Wong told the Vallejo Times-Herald newspaper.
“The labor market increased.”
More than 1,300 people found jobs in Solano County in August and the unemployment roll fell by 1,200, Wong said, dropping the unemployment rate to 11.6 percent.
Statewide unemployment is over 12 percent, the newspaper said, and Solano’s jobless rate was 12.2 percent in July.
“We’re below 12 percent — that’s fantastic news,” Sandy Person, head of the Solano Economic Development Corp., told the newspaper.
“There has been some significant wins for us in the county lately, like Blu Homes in Vallejo and CODA in Benicia, so there’s some significant momentum. I’m feeling positive and encouraged.”
Blu Homes Inc. of Waltham, Mass., is opening an environmental prefabricated home construction facility at Mare Island and CODA Automotive Inc. of Los Angeles recently announced a contract to assemble electric cars at the Port of Benicia.
“Unemployment fell more drastically in Solano than in most of the surrounding region and Solano had the 25th lowest unemployment rate out of 57 California counties in August,” Wong said.
Of course, the good news isn’t completely good, since Solano still has the highest jobless rate in the nine-county Bay Area even with the added jobs.