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California Unemployment Rate at Record Low with 4.1%; Bay Area’s Even Lower

Source: sfchronicle.com | Re-Post MNM Partners, LLC 10/24/2018 – 

The economic outlook for the greater Bay Area remains one of the strongest in the country, however, job growth continues to slow in the third quarter adding just 4,000 jobs year-over-year, a 0.72% increase. The unemployment rate increased 30 basis points since the second quarter to 2.4%, but is still ahead of the third quarter 2017 figure of 3.2%, perhaps a sign of the market’s bottoming out, according to a third-quarter office report by Transwestern.

In the Bay Area, unemployment rates increased 30 to 50 basis points in every county, with San Mateo County (2.3%) and Marin County (2.4%) remaining the top performing counties in California. Santa Clara County (2.6%), Alameda County (3.1%) and Contra Costa County (3.2%) are all below the national average of 3.9% and California’s average of 4.3% unemployment. The US economic outlook shows similar strength with the unemployment rate near its lowest point in almost 20 years and more job openings than available workers, however, there is a real concern that a labor shortage may slow further expansion.

Economists cheered the numbers, coming 10 years after the financial crisis that sent the country into a tailspin, but said they may be overstating the health of the labor market. Wage growth is still subpar, with benefits and bonuses making up a growing percentage of total compensation. And the labor force participation rate, which measures the percent of the adult population with a job, is markedly below where it was 10 years ago. This suggests that there are still discouraged workers sitting on the sidelines who could be pulled back into the labor force if wages were more enticing and employers more willing to hire them.

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