INCOME AND EMPLOYMENT
Why is this important?
Personal income is one of the more basic measures of the local economy’s health. Individuals use their personal income to purchase items to meet family needs, and, in doing so, help fuel sectors of the local economy, from housing to durable goods.
Unemployment rates are a key indicator of the health of local economies. They reflect the ability of employers to supply the numbers and types of jobs needed by the labor force, and the ability of the labor force to provide the skills and availability needed by employers.
What is the measure?
Per capita estimates reflect the total amount of personal income averaged across the population. The unemployment rate is expressed as the percentage of people within the labor force who are out of work and are actively searching for employment.
How are we doing?
Per capita income in 2003 was significantly lower for Tuolumne County residents ($24,869) than for California ($33,415). The difference in income can be accounted for in large part due to the types of jobs available in Tuolumne County. Historically, mining and timber industries dominated Tuolumne County’s economy. In recent years, as these industries declined and the local economy adjusted, tourism has become an increasingly important industry.
Trade, transportation, and utilities account for more than 17% of the county’s total employment with the majority in retail trade. Employment in leisure and hospitality industries made up 13.5% of employment in 2002. Unfortunately, these jobs pay minimum wage, and often do not offer full-time employment. Of the county’s workforce, 29% are employed in government.
This trend will keep Tuolumne County’s workforce average hourly wages in the $16.00- $17.00 range, well below the California average of $20.00-$26.00.