Sacramento: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Sacramento began as a city rich from gold and railroad money. Productive mines still operate in the area, and the city remains an important transportation center. Sacramento's deep-water port, connected to the San Francisco Bay via a 43-mile channel, is an important West Coast hub for the handling of cargo from ocean-going ships. As the junction of the state's major railroad, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company, Sacramento maintains its position at the top of the rail transportation industry. As state capitol of California, Sacramento's largest employment sector has historically been federal, state, and local government. As is true of California in general, the Sacramento area is rich in agriculture; products of the fertile Sacramento Valley region include fruits and vegetables, rice and other grains, meat, beet sugar, and almonds.

Today the city's economy is broadly based. Government and transportation are the largest sectors of employment in the area, and agriculture and mining—while still important in the region—have been surpassed by information, technology service, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and construction. Technology-related companies such as Intel and Hewlett-Packard are among the Sacramento area's largest employers; proximity to research centers, and a well-educated labor pool, have drawn such companies to the area. Sacramento's fastest-growing employment areas in the early 2000s include financial activities, professional and business services, and education and health services.

Items and goods produced: high-technology items, medical equipment and other health-related products, dairy products, feeds, meat, brick and clay products, mining equipment, lumber boxes

Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies

Local programs

A number of organizations work to attract and assist businesses in the Sacramento area. Among them are the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Development Group, and the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization (SACTO). Sacramento's Economic Development Department and its partners offers loan programs to assist the development of small businesses. The city of Sacramento's facade rebate programs help businesses pay for building improvements; the city also offers business incentives to businesses located within Sacramento's three Urban Enterprise Zones and two LAMBRA areas. The Recycling Market Development Zone program offers incentives to small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, California's largest customer-owned utility, offers discounts for new and expanding businesses.

State programs

California's Commerce & Economic Development Program offers financial solutions by helping businesses secure capital to invest in major public, private, and nonprofit ventures; providing export assistance and financing; and supporting small businesses by offering financial assistance, training, and technical assistance.

Job training programs

The Sacramento Training and Response Team (START), a partnership of 11 job assistance and training programs, helps companies recruit, train, and hire employees.

Development Projects

Sacramento's healthy economy is reflected in the city's numerous recent development projects. Developments in Sacramento's downtown area include: a five-story, 200,000 square foot expansion of City Hall, to be completed in 2005; new hotels including a 32-story hotel that opened in 2001, an 8-story hotel that opened the following year, and a 239-room hotel scheduled to open in 2005; and construction of the Wells Fargo Pavilion, a 2,500-seat theater that replaces the Music Circus tent. Two of Sacramento's medical centers—University of California at Davis Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente's South Sacramento Hospital—are currently undergoing massive expansions.

Economic Development Information: Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, 917 Seventh Street, Sacramento, CA 95814; telephone (916)552-6808; fax (916)443-2672

Commercial Shipping

With an international airport, rail hub, seaport, and junction of three freeways within ten miles of downtown, Sacramento is ideally situated for commercial shipping. Inland 85 miles from San Francisco, the Port of Sacramento admits international ocean-going vessels through a deep-water channel connecting it with San Francisco Bay. The port's specialty is handling dry-bulk cargos, and it utilizes the most modern equipment on the West Coast for that purpose. The city is served by three major rail lines. Union Pacific Railroad is the largest railroad in North America; its J. R. Davis Yard, in Sacramento County, is the largest rail facility on the west coast. More than 500 motor freight carriers serve the Sacramento area.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Employers have access to a large and well-educated labor pool. The Sacramento region's economy is among the strongest in California, and job growth has remained positive in the early 2000s. During 2003-2004, the area known as the Sacramento Region (comprised of 6 counties) gained more than 7,700 jobs; in comparison, the nearby San Francisco Bay Region lost more than 126,000 jobs in that timeframe. Government employment is the largest employment sector in the area. Among California's 471,000 government employees, nearly 25 percent are employed in the Sacramento area.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 856,100

Number of workers employed in . . .

natural resources and mining: 600

construction: 70,300

manufacturing: 47,000

trade, transportation, and utilities: 146,200

information: 20,900

financial activities: 60,000

professional and business services: 97,500

educational and health services: 84,400

leisure and hospitality: 79,400

other services: 28,300

government: 221,000

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $15.01

Unemployment rate: 5.4% (January 2005)

Sacramento: Economy

Largest employers (non-government): Number of employees
UC Davis Medical Center 8,500
Intel 6,500
Sacramento City Unified School District 6,000
Hewlett-Packard Co. 4,500

Cost of Living

Sacramento's housing prices relative to San Francisco and southern California have been kept low by an abundance of cheap land.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Sacramento area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 1.0% to 9.3%

State sales tax rate: 6.0% (food and prescription drugs are exempt)

Local income tax rate: none

Local sales tax rate: 1.75%

Property tax rate: 1.0% of total assessed value

Economic Information: Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, 917 Seventh Street, Sacramento, CA 95814; telephone (916)552-6808; fax (916)443-2672