The San Joaquin County job market during 2014 was far stronger than initially thought, according to a new report that underscores the emergence of the region as Greater Silicon Valley.
“This is a real positive for San Joaquin County,” said Jeffrey Michael, director of the Stockton-based Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific. “We are getting close to the point where San Joaquin County will have recovered all the jobs it lost in the Great Recession.”
Here’s how this good news came to light. Once a year about this time, the state’s Employment Development Department takes a fresh look at what has really been happening in the job markets for California and all of its metropolitan centers. They do what they call an annual revision to the original estimates they released for the employment picture statewide.
It turns out that the latest annual revision brought a big upward and positive calculation for how many jobs were created in San Joaquin County during 2014.
Originally, the state EDD figured San Joaquin County had gained 4,400 jobs during 2014, bringing the total number of payroll jobs at the end of last year to 207,100. The new estimate determined that San Joaquin County actually gained 6,700 jobs, meaning the total number of payroll jobs in the region was 212,000.
That means San Joaquin County wound up gaining 2,300 more jobs than initially thought.
Instead of the San Joaquin County job base expanding at 2.2 percent, it actually grew by 3.2 percent during 2014, the revised EDD figures show.
“The industries that were much stronger in San Joaquin County following the revision were manufacturing, trucking and warehouse jobs,” Michael said.
The concept of Greater Silicon Valley and the improved economic conditions in San Joaquin County go hand in hand and are illustrated by the remarkable expansion of one of the biggest names in the technology sector, online titan Amazon.com.
Amazon and its huge fulfillment center and warehouse operation in Tracy are driving a lot of the job growth. Amazon started out with about 1,000 jobs at the center, then by early this year, the ranks at the complex had swelled to 1,500. Just a few weeks ago, Amazon said it was seeking to hire another 100 workers because consumer demand is rising.
“We initially thought that it would be 2017 before San Joaquin County would have gotten back to the pre-recession employment levels,” Michael said. “Now we believe that San Joaquin will get to the pre-recession levels by sometime in 2015."