In 2004, permits were issues for 3,111 new or substantially rehabilitated homes. In 2005, that number more than doubled. (I don’t really expect triple digit percentage increases in 2006, but I do know that the production of new and rehabbed homes is continuing at a very healthy rate.)After dropping for several years, the size of our workforce is now growing — as is the size of our employed population. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at the end of 2005 we had nearly 2,000 more people in our City workforce than we had at the of 2004 — and approximately 3,300 more employed people than we had in 2004. (You may hear this one in the speech.)Our job base — approximately 224,000 — contains more than 8 percent of the state’s job base in a much smaller percentage of the state’s area.The City’s residential population — estimated by the US Census Bureau at 348K at the time of the last full census — was up to 350K in 2004 estimates and 352K in 2005 estimates. Since these numbers do not include most of the residential permits from calendar year 2005, I suspect that July 2006 will show another population increase.More than 40 new street level retail stores have opened downtown.
Preparing for this Friday’s State of the City speech to the Board of Aldermen, I have been reviewing some of the metrics of the past year: