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Ventura County's Economy on an Upswing, Study Says

April 23, 1985|HERBERT A. SAMPLE | Times Staff Writer

Ventura County, whose economy suffered along with those of other Southern California communities in the recession of 1982, has been undergoing an economic resurgence since then, a trend that is expected to continue during 1985, according to a forecast published by Bank of America.

The report, released last week, said employment, personal income and retail sales all will rise this year in Ventura County, which is the 12th largest county in the state in population. But residential construction is expected to decrease "moderately" because of a national economic slowdown, the report said.

The county generally should continue to prosper, the report concluded, because of its desirable climate, diverse recreational and business opportunities and the growing international trade from Pacific Rim countries via Port Hueneme south of Oxnard. The port is the only deep-water facility between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The report said that the county is rapidly shedding its image as a collection of bedroom communities made up of people who work in Los Angeles or in other communities outside of the county.

Increased local job opportunities in the light manufacturing, high-technology and wholesale and retail trades are all contributing to a new, diversified image, the report commented.

In 1980, the report said, 40.3% of the county's workers were employed in manufacturing, real estate and wholesale and retail trade. The bank forecast that, by the end of the year, 43.1% of the county's work force would be employed in those areas.

Some Jobs to Decrease

At the same time, agriculture and government, traditionally the largest employers, will have decreased by a total of about 3%.

The county's population has grown nearly 10% since 1980, to a total of about 590,000, with Thousand Oaks and Camarillo showing the greatest percentage increases, the report said.

The report was written by Duane A. Paul, vice president and senior economist, and Ho Van Cao, an associate economist at B of A.

Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, and Simi Valley are expected to experience the largest population growths in the county over the next 15 years. The growth rates, however, should be lower than in other Southern California cities because of controlled, moderate growth policies, the report said.

Total personal income is expected to increase from $7.8 billion last year to $8.6 billion at the close of this year.

Although most sectors of the county's economy will improve, housing construction will probably decline, the report said.

The median price for an existing single-family home is $127,000, about 13% higher than the state average, the report said.

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