This time four years ago, local market analyst Rick Reed likened Sacramento's economy to a car stuck in low gear.
"We think the car is rolling again, but it needs to get up to speed," Reed told Job Front in April 2009.
Now, after a four-year drive in the slow lane, employers again are stepping on the gas, Reed said.
"We are about to take off," Reed said. "The hiring demand is at the highest level since the recession began in 2008. Some low spots remain, but the majority of local employers are active."
Reed prepared Sacramento personnel firm Pacific Staffing's quarterly report on employment trends released last week.
In all, 75 percent of employers polled for the report said they were hiring in the second quarter nearly half of those planned to expand their workforces.
That is nearly a full reversal from April 2009, when Sacramento and the Golden State were in the throes of recession.
Then, 60 percent of area employers said they expected to shelve their hiring plans during the quarter.
The quarterly report foreshadowed encouraging jobs figures released Friday by the state's Employment Development Department, with Sacramento-area unemployment falling below 10 percent.
Unemployment in the four-county Sacramento area fell to 9.6 percent from January's 10.3 percent, as payrolls grew by 6,300 jobs to 830,300.
The jobless rate was 9.5 percent in Sacramento County, 9.6 percent in El Dorado County and 8.3 percent in Placer County. Yolo County's unemployment rate stood at 12.1 percent, according to the EDD.
What jobs are in demand in Q2?
Information technology jobs are the hottest tickets, but demand is also strong for general office positions and others that fill employers' seasonal needs, Reed said.
"Everybody is looking for IT people, including systems programmers," Reed said. "Employers report demand is so strong for software and IT system programmers they are recruiting out of the Sacramento market."
The demand for IT expertise bears out in recent job postings.
Sacramento-area employers posted about 1,500 online ads for computer systems analysts, computer support specialists and Web developers in January, according to the EDD.
Reed said demand for construction office positions was also a good sign.
"We found another niche demand," Reed said. "If they're gearing up in the office, they will be gearing up in the field."
But with economy and demand gaining momentum, once-patient employees are starting to look for new opportunities, Reed said.
That concerns some Sacramento-area employers heading into the next quarter, according to the report.
"Retention of workers is a concern," Reed said. "People in times of economic woe cling tightly to the lifeboat of their employment. Now, they're able to swim out for another opportunity."
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Call The Bee's Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.