Having dropped by a downwardly revised 3,700 at the beginning of the year, the number of people living in the city of San Francisco with a job increased by 2,900 in February to a near record 557,000 and the unemployment rate dropped from 2.7 to 2.6 percent.

And as such, there are now 91,500 more people living in San Francisco with paychecks than there were at the end of 2000, an increase of 120,300 since January of 2010 and 7,300 more than at the same time last year, which is the smallest growth rate since 2013.

In Alameda County, which includes the City of Oakland, the estimated number of people living in the county with a paycheck increased by 5,900 to a record 825,600 in February – which is 14,300 more than at the same time last year and a gain of 132,800 since the beginning of 2010 – while the unemployment rate in the county dropped to 3.2 percent.

Across the greater East Bay, employment increased by 9,700 to a record 1,373,600 and the unemployment rate dropped from 3.4 to 3.3 percent.

Up in Marin, the number of employed residents ticked up by 600 to 138,300 last month, which puts the unemployment rate at 2.5 percent.

And down in the valley, having dropped by 2,700 in January, employment in San Mateo County rebounded by 2,300 in February to 444,100, which is 5,800 higher than at the same time last year with an unemployment rate of 2.4 percent, and the number of employed residents in Santa Clara County increased by 6,100 last month to a record 1,021,200, which is 24,400 more than at the same time last year with an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by E.Gonsalves

    I found Oakland at 3.7% as of November. This is a historic low for Oakland. The unemployment rate in Oakland has gone down much faster than California’s and even San Francisco’s in the last few years. Amazing recovery for Oakland which had double digit unemployment rates for many years.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      As a point of comparison, the unemployment rate for Alameda County overall was 3.2 percent in November, it was 2.6 percent in the valley and 2.5 percent in San Francisco.

  2. Posted by Pablito

    Since no one new can afford to live or move here – and with unemployment at 2.6 percent – clearly we are tapped out. No more people = no more job growth.

    • Posted by Dave

      To an extent. The Bay Area is growing slowly (at about the national average) and much slower than Seattle or Phoenix or the Texas cities. And other specific metros. West Coast population growth, if you remove the BA from the calculation, is fairly robust. Phoenix, Portland and Seattle are nailing it. Job growth is flattening per the graphs at a time of a large spurt in job growth nationally. Seattle’s jobs numbers are surging and continue to do so. Easily outpacing the SV in tech and STEM job growth.

      Younger workers can’t afford to live here even if they have good tech and STEM jobs. People retiring now generally don’t have defined plans and they too are leaving – unless they are lucky enough to have purchased a home here 20 years ago. My company no longer hires into the Bay Area – they were having a hard time getting talent to relocate here and so directed their job growth to other offices. A friend at HP in Palo Alto tells me most of the new hires are going to Houston and Boise (of all places). His work group and boss are now in Houston and he is allowed tor remain here for now but is worried that may not last.

      Failure to address quality of life issues are catching up with the Bay Area. It is, IMO, too late to reverse things.

      • Posted by Anon123

        Going by Metropolitan Statistical areas the unemployment rate is 3% in the Bay Area, 4% in Portland area and 4.7% in Seattle – so they have a bit more wiggle room for finding new hires. 3% is close to full employment and makes it hard to match up requirements with available skills. Some areas in Texas are below 3% as well. But as you are saying, the cost of living in the Bay area is an obstacle to growth, and the space for adding homes is limited and expensive.

        • Posted by Dave

          Seattle was the 3rd fastest growing big city in the US in 2017. The growth rate is 3.3%. This gives the city a rapidly expanding labor pool from which to fill tech and STEM employers needs. And non-tech jobs too. The 4.7% unemployment rate is quite a feat given all the population growth. Though home prices have surged there in recent years, the median home price is still half a million less than in San Francisco. Plus, Seattle has been building 5K units plus of housing a year and is rapidly expanding its light rail.

          The Bay Area is not adding enough housing by any stretch and oftentimes it is ill-positioned to where the jobs are. The Central SOMA plan and Baylands are perfect examples of why SF and the BA are falling behind other regions.

          • Posted by tpekren

            Agree, Bay Area falling behind even more so when you look at how long it is taking housing to be built on available tracts whether Hunters Point to Alameda naval station to the Concord Weapons station. Heck, I would argue by not moving Oakland A’s to Lake Merritt or Howard terminal is another missed opportunity to build significant housing.

            The plus side is Caltrains on peninsula is being electrified and will significantly increase capacity & for how bad BART is managed they are finally in position of procuring and expanding car fleet/train size, the first of the two phase expansion into SJ is coming on line and while not ideal, June ballot measure on toll hikes might finally, finally put the kick starter to get BART into downtown SJ and Caltrains into Transit Hub. Two big pluses in transit going forward as neither involves a new bay crossing but finally gives some respect to north south orientation and commutes on either side of bay that now matter a lot.
            ..
            In meantime, developers finally discovered Oakland and a mayor who wants to build. Now only if Berkeley would pull up its big boy pants.

          • Posted by Dave

            @tpkern The problems with BART to downtown SJ and Caltrain to the TTC are that those essentially are the only regional transit improvements (new mileage) in the BA. The CalTrain to the TTC link is still years and years away. If it even happens. Toll hikes? California is at the top of states in terms of taxation and the infrastructure is a mess. Fare hikes will be squandered .

            Washington State has lower taxes (no corporate or income tax) and has far better maintained infrastructure. While we hold our collective breaths to see if CalTrain ever makes it to the TTC, Seattle is adding major new lines to it’s light rail system and rolling them out over the next 15 years. A huge expansion including the Redmond Tech Center and Tacoma Dome lines, which dwarfs anything being planned let alone actually built in the BA.

          • Posted by SFrentier

            You think rapid growth is all daisies and roses huh Dave? And when we hit the next recession Seattle is going to get hammered! It’ll be like Denver taking a serious dive in 2008. You can’t expect for all the new (and more expensive) housing to get absorbed, and not push back in a recession. Meanwhile, slower growth and higher end SF will falter much less. And the less expensive areas in SF proper (namely D10) will probably be most recession resistant.

            You’re falling for all the growth is good hype. Remember, rapid gonzo growth runs counter to having “there, there” when the sh!t hits the fan during a recession. I’d hate to be buying in Seattle right now…

          • Posted by Dave

            @SFrentier – Growth does not equate to good. Growth that is sustainable is another matter. Sustainable growth – as in building out a large public transportation system and aggressively building housing and affordable housing is good. Seattle is growing in a sustainable manner which is good. The BA has not. Seattle is more recession proof than the BA IMO because it has a more diversified economy and a far more affordable housing situation. The military bases are an “anchor” for the region in a number of ways. One being the large number of military retirees who choose to live in the PS area.

            Be cognizant of the past performance is no guarantee of future performance truism. The BA boomed during the 2000s. However, regional issues have not been addressed at all and the quality of life has deteriorated. I’d not be buying investment property in the BA right now. It’s all in the numbers.

          • Posted by SFrentier

            Dave- it has nothing to do with numbers, it’s all in one’s perspective of how the housing market will fare in the Bay Area vs Seattle. There are too many variables to simply chalk it up to numbers. I think the outstanding growth we have had in the Bay Area, basically from the 80’s going on to today, will continue. Simply because the Bay Area is highly desireable place to live and the influence of the massive tech industry. I’m confident these trends will continue for at least another decade or two. Afterwards I’ll evaluate.

            Look places like Texas, Nevada, Florida, etc. have been growing for decades now. They are good housing markets too, though more susceptible to booms and busts. But, you cannot compare the appreciation of the Bay Area to any of those other states. And basically, nothing is going to derail that dynamic in the next decade or two. You just have to have assets and/or know how to specifically invest in this admittedly very tight and expensive housing market. There are lots of way to make investments work locally. You just have to know how, and indeed, many local investors are extremely successful.

          • Posted by Out of Town

            The State of Washington has the Business & Occupation tax:
            Washington, unlike many other states, does not have an income tax. Washington’s B&O tax is calculated on the gross income from activities. This means there are no deductions from the B&O tax for labor, materials, taxes, or other costs of doing business.

          • Posted by Dave

            @SFRentier – Don’t discount the numbers. Affordability, population growth, job growth, economic diversification, local talent pool. The soft “numbers” too – quality of life. All cities with population growth do not have the other numbers. Or enough of them. Seattle is unique and could rival the BA as a tech center in coming years. Certainly as a population center. Seattle will overtake SF in population by the early 2030s if trends continue. Portland too will surpass SF.

            Beyond that, the tech economy is changing things. Diversification of jobs out of the Bay Area will continue and not just to Seattle, but the small sub-markets which are a new phenomena. Places like Bozeman Montana are becoming mini-tech hubs. Boise was a good place for smaller LLVC groups to buy up land and entitle but the big public developers have come in during the past year and taken up a lot of the most buildable housing plots. The rapid growth of Boise as a tech center has changed the dynamics there. The numbers no longer work there for the smaller housing developers.

            A dispersion of tech hubs to other centers and sub-centers will continue to take away from the BA and SV’s claim to fame as being the center of the tech industry. IMO the next two decades will be no where near in terms of growth and development in the BA what the past two decades have been.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        As the tech economy continues to grow and the Bay Area doesn’t build enough housing, there will be spillover into secondary tech markets like Seattle and LA. Our bucket is full and the water is overflowing into other buckets.

    • Posted by Anon123

      Yes, places that have lower cost and are in great need of jobs: Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield…

      • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

        This is why the Bay Area needs High Speed Rail. From the Los Angeles Times last week, Gov. Jerry Brown curses high-speed rail critics in forceful speech to labor leaders:

        “Brown…connected the high-speed rail project to the state’s housing affordability crisis, saying that people could live in less expensive housing in the Central Valley and take high-speed rail to commute to the Bay Area for work.”High-speed rail is affordable housing,” he said.”

        Of course, the problem of using Modesto, Merced, etc. as bedroom communities for the Bay Area is that building out low density tract SFHs tends to wipe out farmland in these places. Which is great if you’re a farmer that wants to cash out of that business and go sit on a beach in Ibiza, but not so great if you’re an eater and want relatively locally grown food.

        • Posted by Pablito

          Agreed. High Speed Rail as a solution to affordable housing is a veritable train wreck. Tens of thousands of acres of the Valley will be plowed under by low density sprawl. People will take the train to work – but they will need cars for all trips other other than SF or LA.

  3. Posted by SFRealist

    Unfortunately as the risk of a voluntary recession rises, I’d expect these numbers to drop.

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