An area economist has encouraging words about Napa County’s economic recovery from the October wildfires.

“Napa is still a very attractive place to live and work. People will come back” and continue to spend money, said Robert Eyler, Ph.D., professor of economics at Sonoma State University. At the same time, a labor shortage remains a constant concern, he said.

While Sonoma County faces a significant battle to rebuild both physically and economically, in Napa County “everything is OK in the medium- to long-term,” said Eyler. “There is no reason to panic.”

On Thursday, Visit Napa Valley, Napa County’s official tourism agency, reported positive visitation numbers from Smith Travel Research for December and January.

Hotel occupancy was 6.8 percent higher in December from the previous year and hotel revenue was up 9.2 percent. In January, occupancy was 4 percent higher from the previous year and revenue was up by 8.8 percent.

Eyler estimated that every $1 billion of new construction in Napa County will require an estimated 4,860 construction workers supporting another 3,330 jobs. That work will contribute an estimated $215 million for local vendors and merchants and another $213 million to the local economy based on worker and businesses spending. It will also add an estimated $57 million in state and local taxes.