Why is this important?
A diverse economy, with broad opportunities for
employment and strong infrastructure, is a major factor
in creating a healthy community.
What is the measure?
The indicators selected cover the following: retail
sales, the diversity of business and industry in the
county, employment/unemployment, income, tourism,
land use, housing, infrastructure, transportation, and
How are we doing?
Overall, the economy continues to be in transition. This
is exhibited by growth in retail sales, tourism, services
and health care. In recent years, mining and timber
Government and tourism are the largest employers in
the county, which is reflective of the large proportion of
public lands and the spectacular natural beauty drawing
visitors to the area. Cultural tourism, including the
many artisans and three professional regional theater
companies, attracts large numbers of visitors from the
Bay Area and central valley. Historic and agricultural
tourism such as wine tasting, fruit and vegetable stands,
and tree farms are also significant contributors to the
We face economic challenges. As in all regions, housing
our workforce continues to be expensive, as the prices
escalate for housing and the inventory decreases. The
rate of compensation for the workers is not increasing
at the same rate as the cost of housing. A portion of
the workforce tends to commute to other areas that
offer higher wages to balance the costs for living in
the foothills. Multi-dwelling units are very scarce with
limited availability. Almost half of our population is 50
years of age or older. Thus, we face a challenge in filling
entry level jobs—which are important for a vital and
healthy economic outlook for the county.