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By Steve Levy

Job growth stronger than previously thought

Uploaded: Sep 27, 2013

Yesterday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released final job estimates for the year ending March 2013. These data will be used next year to revise the preliminary published estimates of job growth (the ones we see in the papers each month) for California and the Bay Area for 2012 and 2013.

For the 12 months ending in March 2013 jobs in California increased by 3.0% compared to the national growth rate of 1.6%. The same data show Texas with a 3.0% gain along with Colorado and Idaho. Two states had a higher job growth rate—Utah at 3.3% and North Dakota at 4.4%.

Bay Area counties did even better for job growth. San Francisco posted a 4.3% job gain followed by Santa Cruz (4.2%), Santa Clara (3.8%), San Mateo and Sonoma at 3.4%, Alameda (3.2%), Solano (3.1%) and Contra Costa (3.0%).

A 3% growth rate in Bay Area jobs translates into an increase of roughly 100,000 jobs in that year.

Unemployment rates, while still above historical levels in a good economy, are falling rapidly in the region and four counties now have rates between 5% and 6%.

The implication of these job and unemployment trends is that continuation of job growth will increase pressures for more people to live and work in the region.

It is likely that job growth rates will decline in coming years but job and population growth is now firmly on track to meet or exceed the 1 million more jobs and 2 million more residents expected in the regional Plan Bay Area adopted this year.

Growth does bring change and pressures and residents and businesses have different experiences of the benefits and costs. But denying the growth does no good for reaching solutions, just as denying climate change is not helpful in the face of strong evidence of its existence.

One has only to look around the Valley and north up the peninsula to see building, expansions and growth all around.