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New Study Offers Snapshot of Area’s Workforce, Employment Trends

January 24, 2012

A just-completed study will help Placer County officials ensure that local workforce-development programs meet the needs of both employers and job seekers.

The study is a labor market analysis prepared for the Golden Sierra Workforce Investment Board in collaboration with the Placer County Office of Economic Development. It analyzes the labor market in the three counties served by Golden Sierra: Placer, El Dorado and Alpine.

The study contains good news about the economic outlook for the three counties: it expects job growth in the area to outpace the Sacramento region and the state over the next five years.

“The study is a very useful tool for evaluating whether job-training programs are on the right track and identifying ways to make them more effective,” said Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler, a member of Golden Sierra’s Governing Board. “Its analysis of occupations expected to add jobs in the future will be particularly helpful in assessing programs that assist displaced workers seeking new jobs. We want to make sure we are pointing people in the right directions and helping them acquire the skills they will need for new jobs.”

In the study, the Sacramento-based Center for Strategic Economic Research:

  • Looks at employment trends by industry in the three-county area, offering background information on which sectors lost the most jobs during the recession and a forecast on which sectors are expected to post significant job gains in the coming years;
  • Provides a workforce snapshot that includes information on wages, educational attainment and commute patterns; and
  • Identifies clusters of occupations with strong growth potential that could be enhanced by local economic development efforts.

Clusters that are expected to add jobs over the next few years are Agriculture and Food, Business Services, Finance and Insurance, High Technology, Medical, and Recreation and Tourism. The study lists the top-10 occupations associated with each cluster.

The study notes that some of those clusters are closely connected to industry clusters that suffered heavy job losses from 2005 to 2010, noting that workforce development programs can take advantage of those connections to help displaced workers move from distressed clusters to those with more promising futures.

The study also emphasizes that economic development efforts should focus on the clean energy technology field, noting that the three-county area already accounts for about 25 percent of the region’s businesses, close to 16 percent of the jobs and 19 percent of the annual sales in the field.

The study says almost two-thirds of the jobs in the three-county area are in five major industry groups: Government; Retail; Health Care and Social Assistance; Accommodations and Food Services; and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services.

From 2005 to 2010, the three-county area suffered a net loss of close to 16,000 jobs. The study predicts the area will gain more than 18,000 jobs by 2015 as a broad economic recovery takes hold.

“The study adds to our understanding of the local economy and what we can do to help foster growth in key industries,” said Chair Jennifer Montgomery of the Board of Supervisors, a member of the Placer County Economic Development Board.

“The new study complements the recently completed Economic Development Board Roadmap. Both identify industry groups primed for future growth and are being used by the Economic Development Board to compile a list of tasks that should be completed this year as part of our effort to retain and attract businesses in the target groups.”

The Roadmap identifies advanced manufacturing, emerging industries, small technology, research-and-development firms and entrepreneurs as key targets of the county’s economic-development efforts.

The Golden Sierra Workforce Investment Board is part of a nationwide network formed in response to the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The local board brings together local government agencies, the private sector, nonprofit agencies, educational institutions, labor groups and job-training organizations to promote economic growth, help job seekers find work and assist businesses looking to hire skilled workers.

The local Workforce Investment Board is staffed by the Golden Sierra Job Training Agency.

The Economic Development Board is an advisory group that assists the county with its business attraction and retention efforts, film-promotion program and the Business Advantage Network.

The Center for Strategic Economic Research is a consulting group that specializes in applied research and strategy development in regional economics and economic development. It is affiliated with the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization.

A copy of the study is on Golden Sierra's website at The study is titled "Gs Labor Market Analysis Report."