Fresno serves as the economic center for California's Central Valley. Agriculture is the major factor for the Fresno area economy. Agriculture provides approximately 25% of the region's jobs. In addition, it's estimated that one out of three jobs are related to agriculture. Fresno county is regarded as one of the most prominent agricultural counties in the nation. The primary crops are cotton, grapes, cattle, plums, milk, tomatoes, turkeys and peaches. The area's food processing industry is an important element of the economy. In addition, Fresno's unemployment rate fluctuates on a seasonal basis due to the varying employment needs of the agricultural industry.
The primary non-agricultural sectors for employment are:
- Trade, transportation and utilities
- Education and health services
- Professional and business services
- Leisure and hospitality
Fresno continues to add non-agricultural industries. The manufacturing sector provides jobs in a variety of areas including metal products, farm machinery, stone, transportation equipment, glass products, electrical equipment, wood products and furniture. Jobs are also provided in sectors such as irrigation and agricultural technology, flexible food manufacturing and advanced logistics. In addition, the numerous call centers employ a portion of the workforce.
The jobs more common in Fresno when compared to most of the nation's cities are first-line supervisors/managers of farming, fishing and forestry workers; farm workers and laborers, crop, nursery and greenhouse; slaughterers and meat packers; agricultural equipment operators; meat poultry,and fish cutters and trimmers; tax examiners, collectors and revenue agents and agricultural inspectors.
Fresno includes numerous business incubators that function as resource centers for entrepreneurs and new companies. A number of the business incubators are situated at California State University, Fresno. The city also has a large Enterprise Zone. The state of California provides companies operating in the zone with various tax credits such as for financing, hiring, and capital investment. The programs are offered by the State of California Commerce and the Economic Development Program.
Noteworthy data regarding Fresno: The average salary in Fresno in early 2009 was $33,000. In 2008 the cost of living index was at 94.6. The national average is 100. Regarding the population over the age of 25, about 19% have a bachelor's degree or higher.
The largest employers in the public sector are provided below:
- Fresno County Unified School District
- Fresno County
- Community Medical Centers
- City of Fresno
- California State University, Fresno
- State Center Community College District
The largest employers in Fresno's private sector are:
- Community Medical Center - Healthcare
- St. Agnes Medical Center - Healthcare
- Beverly Healthcare - Healthcare
- Kaiser Permanente - Healthcare
- Pelco - Video security systems manufacture
- Children's Hospital Central California - Healthcare
- Quinn Group Inc - Ag, industrial and construction equipment manufacturer
- AT&T - Communications
- Zacky Farms - Turkey growers and processors
- Fresno Bee - Newspaper
- Guarantee Real Estate - Real estate brokerage
- Sunrise Medical - Wheelchair manufacturer
- Producers Dairy Foods - Dairy products processing and packaging
- London Properties Real Estate brokerage
- Geil Enterprises - Security, janitorial services
- Turner Security Systems - Security personnel and monitoring
- Securitas Security Services USA - Security services
- Grundfos Pumps Manufacturing Corp - Water pumps manufacturer
- Quest Diagnostics Inc - Clinical laboratory services
- Duncan Enterprises - Ceramic arts manufacturer
Business organizations offering assistance to Fresno businesses:
The The Business Journal - Fresno provides information about the current business activities in Fresno.