Housing decline a drag on value in Stanislaus County

When the value of all Stanislaus County goods and services was added up, it reached nearly $14.36 billion in 2006. While that was a record high, it was only about 0.6 percent more than the previous year after inflation.

Nationwide, by comparison, the so-called "real" gross domestic product gained 3.2 percent, according to recently released statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Stanislaus' economy was pulled down by losses in construction spending in 2006, which is when the region's housing slump started. That decline was partly offset by increases in nondurable goods manufacturing.

The economic bureau calculated that, considering inflation and population growth, the per capita GDP of Stanislaus residents dropped to $25,204. That was $133 less than in 2005.

Merced County also suffered because of construction losses in 2006. Its economy hit $5.38 billion, which -- considering inflation -- resulted in a 0.5 percent decline from the previous year. Of the 363 metropolitan areas tracked by the economic bureau, only 55 lost ground like Merced.

When population growth is factored in, Merced's economic decline was more evident. The per capita GDP fell by $388 in 2006, down to $20,034.

That's less than half of the nation's per capita GDP, which rose $883 in 2006 to $41,510. The per capita GDP in the San Francisco-Alameda County region also reached a record $61,895.

San Joaquin County saw gains in 2006, too, overall and per capita. Its GDP was nearly $18.31 billion, which was a record and up 1.9 percent from the previous year. San Joaquin's per capita GDP rose $199 to $23,907.

Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at or 578-2196.