Wages and employment are expected to grow in the Fresno region as it approaches a population of 1 million people in the coming years.
The Center for Business and Policy Research at University of the Pacific in Stockton put out its most recent California & Metro Forecast, painting a rosy pictures of the state’s economy, though some sectors that have been hot with growth are projected to cool down.
For the Fresno area, the Center forecasts that annual nonfarm employment is expected to grow about 2 percent this year, and 1.7 percent next year.
The expected leading sectors for growth this year in Fresno are construction and mining (7.5 percent), state and local government (3.3 percent) and education and health services (2.8 percent).
Employment is expected to increase in all sectors except for manufacturing and professional and business services.
The average annual wage in Fresno is expected to be $51,548 this year, an increase of 1.3 percent from last year. By 2021, the average annual wage is expected to hit $58.777.
The Fresno region will be knocking on the door of a 1-million population when it reaches 999,296 next year, and grow about 1 percent each year reaching 1.02 million in 2021, according to the forecast.
This year’s unemployment rate in Fresno is expected to be 9.1 percent, but is forecast to decrease to 8.8 percent by 2021.
According to the forecast, as the agriculture-based economy continues to face challenges related to water, labor and lower prices, high-speed rail will become an important factor for economic growth. The system is likely spend more than $1 billion in the Fresno area over the next several years.
Statewide, health services has become the largest employment sector in the state, and is projected to add about 40,000 positions over the next 12 months, less than the 65,000 jobs added in recent years.
Growing tourism and a gradual shift in consumer spending from retail to restaurants in California has fueled rapid growth in the leisure and hospitality sector, but the growth is projected to slow as higher minimum wages take effect by 2020.