2016 News Releases

Peninsula economy update: Job growth and more residents worsen housing shortage, transportation

report coverNovember 3, 2016 – Sustained economic growth has brought a surge of jobs and residents to the San Francisco Peninsula, exacerbating the area’s lack of housing and transportation challenges, Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s Institute for Regional Studies reported today.

The region’s unemployment rate has fallen below four percent – levels not seen since the dot com peak in 2000 – and poverty rates are well below state and national levels, according to the report.

The Peninsula sub region – Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco – added 65,600 jobs and 39,800 residents in the past 12 months, the report says, leaving the region 60,000 housing units short of those needed to accommodate the growth over the past nine years.

"This data underscores what anyone living on the Peninsula already knows, that surging job growth has brought many residents back into the workforce while also resulting in out of each housing costs and growing congestion," said Stephen Levy. director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. "With no end to job growth soon, the region needs to address housing and transportation challenges as soon as possible."

In the past 12 months, the report notes, 46,500 residents joined the Peninsula workforce. Despite continuing baby boomer retirements, unemployment rates have dropped to 3.8 percent in Santa Clara County, 3.3 percent in San Francisco and 3.1 percent in San Mateo County.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is 5.5 percent in California and five percent nationwide. Poverty rates remain above pre-recession levels in Silicon Valley but are well below state and national averages and have been declining slowly.

The 2015 poverty rates were 8.2 percent in Santa Clara County, 8.5 percent in San Mateo County, 12.3 percent in San Francisco, 15.3 percent in California and 14.7 percent in the U.S. With one exception, poverty rates for African Americans and Latinos in Silicon Valley counties are lower than the nation, although they remain above the comparable poverty rates for Asian and White Non-Hispanic populations.

Between 2007 and 2016 the Peninsula saw an increase of 69,503 housing units, but during the same period household population increased by 344,149 and average household size grew from 2.65 to 2.77 persons. To keep pace with this growth, 130,094 units should have been added, or an additional 60,000.

The latest Peninsula economy report also noted that real GDP increased by 8.9 percent in the San Jose metro area in 2015, more than twice the state gain and nearly four times the national average.

Stephen Levy, a member of the Institute board, prepared this economic update.

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