The six-county Sacramento Region ended the year with an uptick in positive job growth.
Preliminary data show that the number of jobs on payrolls in the region grew by 1.2 percent over the 12 months ending December 2012. This is a significant improvement over the -0.6 percent job growth Sacramento posted at the same point in 2011.
The December 2012 growth equates to an annual gain of 9,900 jobs in the region. Sacramento started seeing positive annual job growth in April 2012, which peaked in July 2012 at 2.5 percent and then tapered off to 0.8 percent before shifting back up to 1.2 percent in December 2012.
For most of this period, the region’s job growth floated between the statewide and national averages, but tracked below these two benchmarks for the past two months. Sacramento’s recent positive job growth is primarily the result of gains in three of its five largest sectors. The Trade, Transportation, & Utilities sector (dominated by retail trade activities) has been growing on an annual basis for 10 months, reflecting rising consumer confidence with general economic improvement. This sector posted 3.2 percent annual job growth in December 2012.
Annual job growth in the Educational & Health Services sector (driven by health care activities) has consistently been in positive territory since the end of 2010. Over the past two years, jobs have increased in this sector at fairly robust annual rates between 1.8 percent and 4.4 percent with the December 2012 job growth coming in at 2.7 percent.
The Region’s Professional & Business Services sector recovered at the beginning of the year and saw 2.0 percent annual job growth in December 2012. This sector has benefitted from improving economic conditions in many of the other sectors in the regional economy, which it depends on as a provider of supporting services.
Even though Sacramento posted annual job losses in its other two large sectors, Government and Leisure & Hospitality, the region saw a net gain of 7,400 jobs across the five sectors that primarily drive its economic performance.
The two major geographic markets in the Sacramento Region have seen notably different economic performance. While the core Sacramento metropolitan area posted 1.3 percent job growth in December 2012 (ranking it 136 among 279 measured metropolitan areas nationally), employment in the Yuba-Sutter area declined by 2.4 percent in the past 12 months.
California posted 1.7 percent annual job growth in December 2012 with a gain of close to 238,000 jobs. Employment in the state has been growing on an annual basis since the summer of 2010 and began to consistently outpace the national average in the middle of 2012.
Despite seeing job growth improvements in the beginning of the year, the state has seen a fairly flat pattern for the past six months. California ranks 14th among all states based on December 2012 job growth, falling behind other major and neighboring states in the Western United States such as Washington, Arizona and Colorado.
Job growth nationally has been stable throughout 2012, beginning and ending the year with an annual growth rate of 1.4 percent. The most recent job growth measure reflects an annual gain of nearly 1.9 million jobs nationally.
The SF Bay Area has been one of the leading major regions in the country over the past year with job growth outpacing the statewide and national averages by a significant margin. Between December 2011 and 2012, the number of jobs on payrolls in the SF Bay Area grew by 2.9 percent, equating to an 82,000-job increase.
The San Francisco and Silicon Valley markets both posted job growth above 3 percent in December 2012 while job growth in the East Bay exceeded 2 percent.
Sacramento’s two other neighboring regions also saw relatively healthy job growth at the end of 2012. Stockton saw job growth fall in the latter part of 2012, but still ended the year at a 2.9 percent growth rate (an annual gain of 5,500 jobs). Solano also experienced a decline in job growth for the past six months, dropping below the statewide average. Over the 12 months ending December 2012, Solano grew by 1.6 percent with a 1,900-job gain.