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Blame the Techies: SF Hits Full Employment

Scott Lucas | May 19, 2014 | Story Politics

If this year's Bay to Breakers seemed ever-so-slightly less drink-soaked, there's a good reason. We all had to get up today to go to our jobs. According to data released by the state, San Francisco—and several other counties in the Bay Area—has hit full employment.

Go ahead and celebrate—responsibly. After all, you've got to deliver those TPS reports by noon.

That doesn't mean that our jobless rate is zero. Rather, economists define "full" as anything under five percent. Ours hit 4.4% in April—down from 5.3% last month. Marin County had 3.9% and San Mateo 4.2%. Even Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, whose economies tend to lag slightly behind, saw drops to 5.7% and 6.1%, respectively. By way of comparison, the state's jobless rate was 7.8%. In many places, including San Francisco, those numbers represent the best employment rates since the Great Recession hit.

Leading the San Francisco jobs charge was "professional and business services," which includes high technology firms. That industry added 11,500 jobs across the last year (it also includes accountants, lawyers, and managers). However, gains were wide across multiple industries, including a 4,700-jump in construction and a 4,400-increase in leisure and hospitality. Just about the only negative news comes for those workers in the performing arts and spectator sports industries, which have shed 14.5% of their jobs in the last year.

Although the state does not collect data on it, anecdotally speaking, opportunities in the lucrative vomiting on shuttles sector have also increased in the last year.

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