County jobless rate at two-year high

The San Mateo County work force may be earning the second wealthiest salaries in the state, but it is also combating an escalating unemployment rate now at its highest point since 2005.

Currently, 4.2 percent of workers in the county are unemployed, according to the California Employment Development Department. The rate, the highest number in 27 months, indicates that 16,100 are without jobs in a county that boasts 384,200 workers. In March 2007, there were 13,700 unemployed county residents.

March marked the ninth consecutive month during which the county’s unemployment rate rose compared to the previous year.

The slumping economy and several sagging job sectors in the county led to the rate’s uptick, experts said. The struggling sectors include financial services, trade, transportation and utilities, according to the state Employment Development Department, though jobs in the leisure and hospitality fields as well as health care continued to grow.

The report comes a week after the state released 2006 salary data reporting that the typical San Mateo County resident earns $48,117 annually, second in the state to Marin County.

The unemployment rate indicates that even the Peninsula is not immune to the state and nation’s economic woes, Bay Area Council Economic Institute President Sean Randolph said.

“[We] shouldn’t be surprised if we see the rates to continue to notch up into this year,” Randolph said.

Despite the recent jump in unemployed residents, the county remains ahead of nearby San Francisco (4.7 percent), Santa Clara (5.3 percent), Contra Costa (5.6 percent) and Alameda (5.4 percent) counties for unemployment numbers. It is also lower than the state (6.4 percent) and the nation (5.1 percent).

“It certainly looks like the country is headed to recession and that will affect the Bay Area,” said Cynthia Kroll, senior regional economist at UC Berkeley.

The growing unemployment rate also comes as average county salaries are lagging behind swelling housing costs.

Between 2004 and 2006, the most recent data available, salaries in the county jumped by 7.3 percent. By contrast, the average rent for one- and two-bedroom apartments soared 16.9 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively, during that time, according to the county Department of Housing. The median house and condo/town home cost also outpaced salary hikes, increasing 10.5 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

San Mateo County job force

384,200: Members of job force

16,100: Unemployed residents as of March

4.2 percent: Unemployment rate

November 2005: Last time unemployment rate was this high

Struggling sectors: Financial services, trade, transportation and utilities

Rising sectors: Tourism, health care

Sources: California Employment Development Department

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

A construction worker rides on top of materials being transported out of the Twin Peaks Tunnel as work continues at West Portal Station on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s poor track record on capital projects risks losing ‘public trust’

Supervisors say cost overruns and delays could jeapordize future ballot revenue measures

Roger Marenco, president of operators union TWU Local 250-A, speaks at a news conference outside the Muni Kirkland Yard announcing Muni will not be increasing fares on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s union leader encourages riders to say ‘thank you’ to their Muni operators

A conversation with Roger Marenco, president of Transport Workers Union of America, Local 250A

San Francisco’s live music clubs have been closed for more than a year. (Twitter screenshot)
S.F. venue recovery fund begins accepting grant applications

Entertainment presenters may apply from April 21-May 5

Most Read