Bay Area leads state in job growth

Although economic development and employment growth remain stagnant in the United States, several regions in California, including the Bay Area, are rising above the nation’s daunting statistics.

According to economists at the UCLA Anderson Forecast, the Bay Area has been adding jobs this year at a faster rate than California and the nation, and this is expected to continue.

The Bay Area owes this refreshing condition to employment growth of the technology sector and exports, said Brad Kemp, director of regional research at Beacon Economics.

However, economic growth is not consistent throughout the Bay Area. Improvements are concentrated in the North Bay and the South Bay. In the first eight months of this year, the South Bay added 20,500 jobs and the San Francisco region added 12,300 — a far higher number than the 4,600 jobs the East Bay added, according to San Jose Mercury News.

“This is not a story of the Bay, it’s a story of three areas — the San Jose M.S.A, San Fransisco M.S.A, and the Oakland M.S.A,” Kemp said.

He said the businesses in these areas are investing in high-tech industry and equipment which is high in demand among consumers. The South Bay, which Kemp refers to as the San Jose M.S.A, has “recovered better than most” from the economic downturn.

The South Bay is leading the Bay Area in job growth, with a 2.4 percent increase in jobs in the private sector, with is twice as much as the Bay Area overall and three times the growth rate of the state’s .7 percent, according to Mercury News. The North Bay, also called the San Francisco M.S.A, “didn’t take as much of a big hit from the recession,” Kemp said, and is doing “OK” with a 1 percent increase in jobs.

The East Bay, also referred to as the Oakland M.S.A,  on the other hand is lagging in development and “following the nation’s economic track” with a small 0.1 percent in job growth, said Steven C. Pitts, labor policy specialist at the UC Berkeley Labor Center.

“Oakland’s (economic) problem follows the overall trend of the nation’s problem because there is no market to jump out in Oakland,” Pitts said.

The East Bay received the biggest hit from the recession, because of its exposure to subprime loans, which allowed low-income families to buy  houses that they couldn’t afford, Kemp said. He said the foreclosure rates were higher in Oakland, and its focus on heavy industry has also been a contributing factor in the slow economic growth.

“Oakland has great potential, but recovery will take longer,” Kemp said.

He said affordability rates have risen in Oakland housing, which will ultimately spur population growth.

In June, July, and August of this year, the state added 17,400 payroll jobs while the Bay Area added 24,800, according to San Jose Mercury News.

San Jose’s focus on clean, polished high-tech industry has led the South Bay to economic expansion and it is the“central force in the Bay Area,” Pitts said.

However, the growth in the South Bay is “bleeding into the Bay Area,” Kemp said, and is leading California and the nation alike in a pattern of economic growth.

“The Bay Area is the leading charge in California” Kemp said.