Oakland’s employment increased by 1.8 percent from 2016 to 2017, but still lags the growth rate in Alameda County, according to a report released at the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s Oakland/East Bay economic forecast event on Jan. 24.

In better news, increased labor demand and a tight labor market caused wages in Oakland to rise by 4.5 percent during that same time period, according to the report by Beacon Economics of Los Angeles.

In addition, Oakland small businesses employing fewer than 15 employees grew by 5.5 percent.

The report also found that 52 percent of Oakland’s workforce is made up by businesses with more than 50 employees.

Chamber officials said they hire Beacon Economics every year to compile a report aimed at facilitating focused dialogue about economic conditions in Oakland and the East Bay.

City officials said the analysis has become a useful tool in Oakland’s economic lexicon to track progress, identify potential regional challenges and provide context for the economic and policy decisions that will shape the future of Oakland.

“The 2019 forecast shows that while there is much to be positive about, a strong impediment to our economic growth is the critical lack of housing supply that is impacting housing affordability,” Barbara Leslie, president and chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.

“We must do more to grow jobs and keep our current residents in Oakland, while making room for those who share our love for this city,” Leslie said.

Mark Everton, the president and CEO of Visit Oakland, said, “Tourism continues to be a major driver of Oakland’s economy. With more than 3.8 million annual visitors between 2016 and 2017, tourism employment has been rising steadily over the past five years.”

Story originally published by Bay City News.