Sacramento Forecast Project Sacramento Metropolitan Statistical Area Economic Forecast California State University, Sacramento
 revised January, 2009 
Unemployment | Fountain Predictor | Taxable Sales | Transportation | Residential Construction | Data Tables | Resources | SFP Page
1/31/2009:  The average number of jobs in the Sacramento (4 County) MSA, as measured by the Establishment Survey, in 2008 declined 0.63%(5,800 jobs) from the 2007 level of 912,000 jobs to 906,200 jobs. The forecast for 2009, based on actual data through December, 2008, is for a smaller decline of 0.31% (-2,800 jobs).

The 4 county Sacramento Metropolitan Statistical Area population continues to grow - see Vital Statistics for details.
Government employment is still a major part of the workforce in the Sacramento MSA. Government Employment provides more details on that sector in the Sacramento MSA.
graph, Employment, 1995-2009
1/31/2009:  The average annual Unemployment Rate for the Sacramento (4 County) MSA in 2008 was 7.1%, up from the 5.4% rate in 2007. The forecast for 2009, based on actual data through December, 2008, is for the average annual rate to increase to 7.7%.
graph, Unemployment Rate, 1990-2009
Fountain Predictor
1/31/2009:   The Fountain Predictor for the 4 county Sacramento MSA turned negative (-0.170) in December, 2006, and has stayed negative for 25 months, with the size of the negativity generally increasing and ending with December = -2.978 - the largest negative since March, 1991 = -2.967.
graph, <i>Fountain</i> Predictor
The Fountain Predictor was named for Robert J. Fountain (Professor Emeritus, California State University, Sacramento) who suggested graphically comparing the twelve month percentage change in the Number of Persons Employed with the twelve month percentage change in the Civilian Labor Force as a measure of the economic health of an area. The theory suggests that as long as the percentage change in the Number of Persons Employed is larger than (above) the percentage change in the Civilian Labor Force, for that area, that area is in good economic health.
Taxable Sales
1/31/2009:  Taxable sales, all Outlets in the 4 county MSA declined at a -1.8% (-$0.6 billion) rate in 2007, down considerably from the .95% increase in 2006. The forecast for 2008 based on actual data through the 4th quarter, 2007, is a larger decline of -4.6% (-$1.5 billion). The forecast for 2009 is a lesser decline of -2.1% (-$0.7 billion)

A word of caution is in order about these forecasts. Actual data for Taxable Sales are reported at least a year late, so the "current" data does not reflect any of the actions and events of the past year.
graph, Taxable Sales, all Outlets, 1995-2009
Sacramento International Airport
1/31/2009:  The number of passengers handled by the Sacramento County Airports in 2008 is expected to decline 7.4% (795,000 passengers), based in data through November, 2008 compared to the 3.9% increase in 2007. The forecast for 2009 is another decline of 2.4% to a total of 9.7 million passengers.
graph, Sacramento International Airport, passengers handled, 1995-2009
1/31/2009:  The quantity of freight handled at the county's airports is expected to decline 7.6% (25.1 million pounds) in 2008, based on data through November, 2008, compared with an increase of 20.7% in 2007. The forecast for 2009 is a much slower decline of 3.1% (9.5 million pounds) to 297.0 million pounds.
Sacramento County Airports, Freight handled, 1995-2009
Net New Home Sales
1/31/2009:  Net New Home Sales in the Sacramento area, as measured by the North State BIA declined again in 2008 - declined from 5,421 sales in 2007 to 3,567 sales in 2008 (-34.2%). The forecast for 2009, based on actual data through December, 2008, is for a smaller decline, -3.4%, to 3,445 sales. These are total numbers for the 20 county area - see below for an alternative.
graph, BIA, Net New Home Sales, 1990-2009
1/31/2009:  The success of the Sacramento-based Building Industry Association has resulted in an expansion of the territory covered by the organization. This expansion carries with it a problem of data consistency (does the growth come from expanding demand or expanding membership?). The graph above exhibits this problem and, in an effort to deal with the situation, I introduced a new series called Average Net New Home Sales. BIA reports both the Net New Home Sales and the Number of Reporting New Home Communities. Combining these two variables results in the average net new home sales per reporting community and reflects demand change without the membership change. The pattern of the new series (graph below) is similar to the old pattern and still shows the 2005 decline from an average of 72 net new home sales per reporting community to 54 sales (-24.5%  ) and another decline of (-34.6%  ) to an average of 35.4 net new home sales per reporting community in 2006. The 2007 decline was even larger percentage-wise -23.4% than the total decline and was followed by a 21.6% decline in 2008. The forecast for 2009, assuming no change in the number of reporting communities in 2009 and based on data through December, 2008, is for 21.5 net new home sales per reporting community.
graph, BIA, Average Net New Home Sales, 1990-2009
Residential Building Permits
1/31/2009:  Housing Units Authorized by Building Permits in the Sacramento (4 county) MSA in 2008 continued the decline that began in 2004 with a 35.75% decline from the 2007 level which, in turn was down 33.0% from 2006. All told, the decline from the peak of 23.08 thousand permits in 2003 to the 2008 level of 5.17 thousand permits is a 78% decline. The forecast for 2009, based on actual data through May, 2008, is for an even larger decline of 43.85% to 2,970 permits issued.
graph, Building Permits, 1995-2008
Data Tables
The Sacramento Forecast Project maintains several files of Sacramento MSA data, in Excel format, that can be made available on request.


table, Civilan Labor Force, 1990-2009
table, Number of Persons Employed, 1990-2009
table, Number of Jobs, all Industries, 1990-2009

Taxable Sales

table, Taxable Sales, all Outlets, 1990-2009


table, Sacramento International Airport, passengers handled, 1990-2009
table, Sacramento County Airports, freight handled, 1994-2009

Residential Construction

table, Residential Building Permits, 1995-2009
table, BIA, Net New Home Sales, 1995-2009
For information about the Metropolitan Statistical Area and its business environment, try
Data Providers:
More on Employment
The California Employment Development Department's Labor Market Information Section provides definitions and descriptions of
Back to Sacramento Forecast Project
Update: January, 2009
Next Revision: July, 2009

Arthur N. Jensen, Emeritus Professor of Marketing
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California State University, Sacramento

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