In Humboldt County, we believe in entrepreneurs. Over 2,283 people started new businesses from 2002 through 2010 in Humboldt County (CA-EDD & US Census). Those were just baby businesses as when they started, but when just 1% of them grow into a serious employer, they will create 300 or more jobs, and that’s a game changer for our economy. 

Over 450 community and business leaders guided our Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the update adopted in March 2013 by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. Eighteen “Citizen Action Teams” provided recommendations, and an Industry Leader Council incorporated many of those recommendations into a Prosperity 2012 Action Plan. We called the process Prosperity 2012. It started with the identification of six industries that are growing the fastest with the best jobs—Targets of Opportunity. 

  • Diversified Health Care
  • Specialty Food, Flowers & Beverages
  • Building & Systems Construction
  • Investment Support Services
  • Management & Innovation Services
  • Niche Manufacturing

The Humboldt County Workforce Investment Board produced two reports, in 2007 and 2012, describing the Target industries. The Redwood Coast Targets of Opportunity Report 2012 includes economic performance data, the strategic work-plan, and the growing jobs in for each industry.

Job Growth20074%37%
Firm Growth20071.5%23%
Wage Growth20076%20%

In addition to these six emerging industries, two more mature industries utilize the Redwood Coast assets to grow our economy:

  • Forest Products
  • Tourism

These industries are also profiled in the Redwood Coast Targets of Opportunity Report 2012. The Forest Products industry lost about 5,800 jobs between 1995 and 2009, decreasing its share of total regional employment from 10.6% to 4.3% in the 15-year period. Despite declining employment, Forest Products continues to be one of the region’s staple industries. The industry is eleven times more concentrated here than in California statewide, and produced 47% of the state’s total timber harvest in 2010. While it supplies 4.3% of jobs in the region, Forest Products pays 5.6% of total regional wages. Nine of ten sectors pay 29% higher than the regional average.

Tourism is part of the region’s economic foundation, bringing in significant dollars from visitors to the Redwoods. Over 1,732 jobs will open in the Tourism industry through 2018. The natural beauty of the Redwood Coast offers many un-tapped opportunities for visitor-serving entrepreneurship.

When we look all the Target industries in order of highest wages, and fastest growing, we see a very good news trend for the Redwood Coast, and Humboldt County in particular. Management & Innovations services pays 47% higher than the regional average, and grew jobs at 96% in the last 15-year period studied.

Many agencies and collaborative efforts are engaged in implementation actions, as can be seen in the most recent Prosperity Implementation Report October 2013.
 Average WagesDifference 
Industry ClusterIndustryRegion$(+/-)%(+/-)#Job Size
Job Growth
Management & Innovation Services$43,940$29,794$14,14647%793.4%
Niche Manufacturing$42,366$29,794$12,57242%833.2%
Investment Support Services$38,886$29,794$9,09231%611.4%
Forest Products$38,591$29,794$8,79730%5-6.7%
Diversified Health Care$38,402$29,794$8,60829%118.5%
Building & Systems Construction$38,393$29,794$8,59929%316.7%
Specialty Food, Flowers & Beverages$27,929$29,794-$1,865-6%4-4.2%