8.9%, 11.8%, and 20%…
I read an interesting article this past week that had these three simple numbers in it. If you’re wondering how the economic recovery is coming along in this area, these three numbers tell a brutal story. Here’s what they mean:
- 8.9% = Unemployment rate in San Mateo County
- 11.8% = Unemployment rate in Santa Clara County
- 20% = Office vacancy rate in Silicon Valley.
As much as I want to believe the real estate market it poised for a rebound, and that the “worst is over” with regards to the hemorrhaging economy, these number are troubling to me. Why? Because a significant number of residents in San Carlos and other nearby communities rely on technology companies in Silicon Valley or on the mid-Peninsula for their livelihood. The technology boom of the 80’s and 90’s changed the demographics of the mid-Peninsula virtually overnight, and our reliance on technology and Silicon Valley hasn’t waned since.
That’s why when I see numbers like these, I know it’s hitting home right here in San Carlos. When the combined counties lose 50,000 jobs since November of ’08, you know someone here is affected. When Cisco reports crummy earnings (by their standards), you know things aren’t quite right yet. And I have to believe that Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems isn’t going to improve the aforementioned unemployment numbers.
These numbers are very black and white, but they only tell half the story. They don’t reflect those folks who are still employed, but are still worried about losing their jobs. The bottom line is that no full-fledged housing recovery is happen until the numbers above come way down, and the mindset of the existing workforce is more secure. People without jobs, or in fear of losing their jobs, don’t buy homes.
So keep an eye on these numbers going forward. They’ll tell you all you need to know…
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