San Francisco Employment Slips, East Bay GainsOctober 16, 2015
The number of people living in San Francisco with a job slipped by 700 from August to September and now totals a revised 535,700 with an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent – the lowest unemployment rate since December 2000 and down from over 9 percent in January 2010 – as the labor force in the city dropped by 2,900.
There are now 70,200 more people living in San Francisco with paychecks than there were at the height of the dot-com peak in 2000, up by 21,600 over the past year and an increase of 99,000 since January of 2010, a 23 percent increase in employment less than six years according to data provided by California’s Employment Development Department.
At the same time, East Bay employment increased by 300 in September to a revised 1,309,500, with employment in Alameda County, which includes Oakland, accounting for the gain and now measuring 785,000, up by 17,300 versus the same time last year.
And with the labor force in Alameda County having dropped by 4,300 over the past month, the County’s unemployment rate currently measures 4.2 percent, down from 6.1 percent at the same time last year, the lowest since 2007, and versus 11.2 percent in January 2010.
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
The labor force in Alameda County having dropped by 4,300 over the past month as the labor force in the city dropped by 2,900. If these monthly labor force shrink is typical, our labor force would shrink by 5% per year. This seems alarming. What’s the reason for the shrinking labor force?
With a shrinking labor force, total employment will go down and the economy will tank. Maybe boomers are retiring and not enough adult workers to replace them? This could be good for Gen X but I am surprised that millenial population is larger than boomers.
Some people never really come home from Burning Man.
And all without the burning man wall.
I have a similar concern. My 12-year old grew 5 inches last year. If that growth is typical, then by age 21, she will be nearly 9 feet tall. Should I be alarmed (or thrilled)?
A shrinking workforce is not necessarily a sign of weakness. Manhattan’s population is 15% less than what it was in 1950, but the reasons are pretty clear: high earners have moved in and chased many of the previous residents. Higher earners today have less offspring than 1950s regular Manhattanites and therefore there are less people and less workers overall.
I know of a couple of families that recently threw in the towel and moved out of the area. That has to be disheartening.
I see 3 cases where this could have happened:
1 – Families that could have bought in 2009-2012 but failed to do so: tough luck, you have to have your eyes wide open in this very competitive city. All the stars had aligned but they didn’t feel they needed the extra safety given by owning property.
2 – Families that couldn’t have bought even in 2009-2012: well, what can we do about them? They cannot reasonably expect to live in a city that they could never afford in the first place.
3 – Families that just had bad timing none of their fault. Only this last case can be called “disheartening”.
I have a friend at Google who is taking a ton of heat from his wife for having postponed their purchase again and again until 2013 when they realized they had missed out big time. Renting with 3 kids in this market is a b…
Yikes. You’d think she’d be happy having a husband working at one of the best paid companies in the World!
Handing out a ton of heat to him for over 2 years seems a little “de trop!”!
4 – Families that weren’t formed yet in 2009, or weren’t really interested in buying for whatever reason. But at the same time, never imagined that rents would rise by 90% over the course of a few years, or eviction pressure would become so intense. I don’t think many people predicted the extent of that.
That’s #3 in my list: “bad timing none of their fault”.
FYI: single people can also purchase property. For instance I had purchased 2 small condos before I got married, and my wife 1. Then when you get married you are not subject to price increase as much as if you were starting from scratch. If houses have gone up in price, your condos probably did as well.
As I said, SF is a very competitive environment. You can’t “expect” anything. I was looking at 2-unit properties in late 2011 and figured I could get a decent affordable building with a bit more cash saved up. All the really good deals were gone by january 2012. It was almost an overnight event. The overhanging inventory was churned through and then one day it was gone.
I have to say, if I had a young family and was looking to buy (or rent) in SF, unless I had a lot of money from an inheritance or job windfall, I’d leave SF. I love it here, but there are a lot of great places to live. And it is simply too expensive.
On san FronziScheme’s point, it is true that there were lots of really great deals into early 2012 – we closed on our house in January 2012 after two price reductions and we were the only bidder even then. But I continued to follow the market very closely for a little while, and prices did not seem to really move higher until late 2012. We have friends who closed on an awesome TIC (>2000sf) for $700,000 in Fall 2012. It seemed like late 2012 when things just went stark raving mad in terms of prices and competition. It hasn’t stopped, as far as I can tell.
Yes, in retrospect 2012 was still affordable. But it started to be a seller’s market again, with places staying on the market less than 2 months, as opposed to 3, 4, 6 months or more in 2009-2011. The desperation you could feel in the bear years was gone, and all the buildings I could find had poor tenant situations (read rent-controlled crybabies). In 2011 you could still find cheap very clean buildings free of tenant headaches, even in NV.
2012 was actually THE bottom for condos
To be clear, we’re talking East Bay and the folks are “mere mortals” (not Googlers). Frankly, we would benefit from having these families around during the next downturn. YMMV.
“I have to say, if I had a young family and was looking to buy (or rent) in SF, unless I had a lot of money from an inheritance or job windfall, I’d leave SF. I love it here, but there are a lot of great places to live. And it is simply too expensive.”
Yup, it’s certainly hard to argue it’s worth the money here, any more. Of course, those who are new have a SF or nowhere mentality. I get that, I had it too, but thankfully in somewhat cheaper times.
But I think there’s an argument it’s got more expensive and less great over the last few years, although I understand the 2nd part of that is totally subjective. It’s certainly less..varied and diverse now. And it’s much, much, more divided. Can a really divided City be really great? Not sure….
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