From the Chronicle:

California officials say unemployment rates in the Bay Area jumped in January, reaching 9.4 percent in the San Jose area, 9.2 percent in the East Bay and 7.5 percent in San Francisco and vicinity.

The San Francisco metropolitan area, which includes Marin and San Mateo counties, experienced the mildest rise from December’s 6.2 percent, and still has one of the lowest rates in the state.

And in related national news: Mortgage Delinquencies Rise to Record on Job Losses.
UPDATE: County level detail from a plugged-in reader:

Note that SF’s unemployment rate is 8.0% (up from 6.5% in December) according to today’s release. Marin and San Mateo counties’ rates are lower, bring the MSA rate down. So we’re “less bad” than the rest of the state, but that is a huge one-month leap.

Bay Area unemployment jumps higher [SFGate]
Mortgage Delinquencies Rise to Record on Job Losses [Bloomberg]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by hotep

    that’s because it’s so expensive to live in sf that people who lose their jobs move away

  2. Posted by (Sorta)NewBuyer

    What the heck, I’ll count that as good news 🙂

  3. Posted by Some Realtor

    As long as unemployment rates are below 2% in the “Real SF”, this shouldn’t affect the local market too much imo.

  4. Posted by kaya

    My first thought about SF having relatively lower unemployment was along the lines of what hotep said. This is the kind of city where people “move home” when they lose their jobs. But it got me wondering about how the statistics by county are counted. Regardless of whether or not someone stays here, they’re going to take their unemployment benefits. Are the unemployment stastics counted by where the benefit check is being mailed to or where the job was lost?

  5. Posted by Trip

    Note that SF’s unemployment rate is 8.0% (up from 6.5% in December) according to today’s release. Marin and San Mateo counties’ rates are lower, bring the MSA rate down. So we’re “less bad” than the rest of the state, but that is a huge one-month leap. I hope that slows or reverses soon. Kaya raises an interesting question about methodology.
    http://www.calmis.ca.gov/file/lfmonth/0901pcou.pdf

  6. Posted by 1stTimeBuyer

    Yes, I agree with kaya and her point is a good one. The Connecticut diaspora keeps our unemployment artificially low in bad times, and provides an army of high-priced laborers in good times.

  7. Posted by ex SF-er

    I’d be interested in seeing how independent contrcactors fit in to bay area employment figures.
    It is my THEORY (not fact) that there is a relatively high % of contractors in the Bay Area, compared with other MSA’s.
    reminds me of Google… who laid off up to 6,000-10,000 people, but they were Independent Contractors, not employees.
    I wonder if that affects these numbers at all?

  8. Posted by unearthly

    > I wonder if that affects these numbers at all?
    Yes, you can’t collect unemployment unless your employer paid into the state UI fund. Independent contractors don’t file for unemployment.

  9. Posted by tipster

    I’m pretty sure that these stats are done by random phone surveys. They ask what city you live in, are you employed and if not, are you looking for work (if not they don’t count you). That gives them the percent unemployed. It doesn’t matter if you file for unemployment.
    What does a contractor who is only 30% busy say? No idea. A contractor who gives up and goes on vacation won’t be counted.
    The stat is tied to whichever county you state you are living in. As people flee high cost areas, the stats go down in those areas. I think they use census numbers to translate percentages to numbers.
    Different stats work for employment, which is tied to the city in which the job is located.
    It’s not perfect, but better than anything else they can devise.
    It’s been awhie since I looked at this.

  10. Posted by unearthly

    I pretty sure the data comes from the number of people who are collecting and/or have filed for unemployment with the state.
    CA Employment Development Department (EDD)

  11. Posted by richard

    There are still 3.7 million jobs posted on various job sites, here’s 3 of the best from About.com
    http://www.linkedin.com (networking)
    http://www.indeed.com (aggregated listings)
    http://www.realmatch.com (matches you to the perfect job)
    Good luck to those seeking work

  12. Posted by tipster

    Oh, here’s the explanation of how the stats are computed. Unearthly, you might find this explanation helpful:
    http://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm

  13. Posted by unearthly

    Thanks tipster, pretty informative and sounds like the BLS does a thorough job with their counts.

  14. Posted by Mizz

    I’m pretty sure this will put the nail in the SF real estate coffin. Employment drives real estate valuation — it directly drives rental demand (and thus prices) — and with the frivolous lending a thing for the history books, rental prices matter in the rent/buy relationship and this will real estate prices lower.
    There is zero doubt. SF is no different than any other place when it comes to supply/demand. Net demand will be negative as people that are laid off relocate to cheaper pastures and they’re not replaced by new blood.
    If you’re long get out now while the getting is kinda good!

  15. Posted by annonn

    oh yeah man. jobs will/would be the thing. (They’ve given up on reset tsunami, innit? ha ha. don’t mind me having fun with that one. wrong. wrongzo. wrongaloidal wrongstraviiousness) But what’s what, really? What’s devaluation of stocks, and what’s company performance? I don’t know myself. But neither does Wall Street it seems. Not making projected quotas is not the same thing as losing money. Not for the companies in question. I happen to like our positioning. Others on here do not. We will see.

  16. Posted by diemos

    “They’ve given up on reset tsunami, innit?”
    Nope. Still coming.
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_4ZgohmRDQmI/SWwe2W1YnfI/AAAAAAAAATs/xnpvMDX0BPA/s1600-h/creditsuisse.jpg

  17. Posted by anonn

    11/12, eh? Over three years from now, and past your own bottom call? Three plus years, all subject to rates manipulation and now government subsidy? Nice stance.

  18. Posted by diemos

    “Over three years from now, and past your own bottom call?”

    Case-schiller below 110 and 50% off everything in the city by 2011.

    I don’t see anything about when or where the bottom is in that prediction. And be of good cheer, we’re less than 3 years away from Jan 1, 2012.
    “Three plus years, all subject to rates manipulation and now government subsidy?”
    Exciting! Isn’t it? What madness will the government try next to defeat the debt-deflation monster? To quote Willy Wonka, “The suspense is killing me … I hope it’ll last.”
    “Nice stance.”
    What fun is there in making mealy-mouthed predictions loaded up with caveats? I called it like I saw it. I don’t think the gov is going to be able to prevent the Case-schiller part from coming true and Bayview should be below 50% by the end of this year, but it’ll be a horse race for the realSF™.

  19. Posted by Mizz

    I think the realSF 2% unemployment rate he referred to was the hippies bumming smokes and pot from you in the Haight. There’s no shortage there.
    To complete my earlier thought — unemployment in SF hasn’t risen materially until the last two months. Real estate values can be supported when everyone is employed and swapping houses with each other at elevated levels. Why do they care about prices when they sell one place that’s overpriced to buy another?
    Also important to note is real estate hasn’t been inflated here by stupid loans — that’s more of an LA/Central Valley curse — which is why this market has been so resilient, especially in the better parts of town. But as I said before — when people lose jobs and leave, and no one enters to take their place — look out below. Never mind that GOOG just dipped below $300/share….

  20. Posted by Anna
  21. Posted by Rillion

    Speaking of Google, what does its rally off its low from November mean for the lazy google indicator? If this stock market rally holds and google remains in the 300’s could it mean a bottom will be coming soon for SF RE?

  22. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    It means that the US treasury bubble is ending and investors are running for the exits in advance of devaluation.
    Foreign stocks with high dividend yields and low P/Es (BP, BMO, etc.), certain commodities (oil anyone?), Swiss Franc ETFs (FXF) and possibly even the Mexican Peso (check out FXM) are highly recommended.
    RUN from any form of low-yielding dollar-denominted assets.
    (Just talkin’ my book, as usual).

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