Silicon Valley Jobs Report: Modest growth in November, but more jobs are needed

posted by Louise Auerhahn

Friday, December 21, 2007, at

Today's employment report from the state shows that the San Jose metro area experienced moderate job growth in November, adding 11,700 jobs over the past 12 months for an annual growth rate of 1.3%. Most of the region's major industries added some jobs over the year, with the biggest gains in educational & health services, professional & business services, and manufacturing.

While it is a positive sign that Silicon Valley is adding jobs broadly across most sectors of the economy, job growth of only 1.3% over the year is inadequate to bring employment and incomes back up to the point where Silicon Valley's working and middle-class families can make ends meet.

This is especially the case now that Santa Clara County is beginning to see more rapid population growth, perhaps spurred by people who left during the dot-com bust moving back in. With population growth for 2006-07 at 1.67% -- the highest in the Bay Area -- the demand for employment is rising faster than job creation. Even though the region added jobs over the past twelve months, unemployment rose from 4.4% in November 2006 to 5.0% in November 2007.

At the same time, home sales plunged yet again in November. Just 1,317 homes were sold in Santa Clara County, (Continued...) down 35.1% from November of last year, and far below the 2,624 homes sold in Nov. 2004.

The ongoing housing market crash may signal a decline next year in jobs in the construction and financial activities sectors -- which could put more people out of work. (Construction jobs fell by 1,000 this month, but much of that is probably a seasonal decline due to winter weather.)

Highlights of the jobs report:
  • The San Jose metro area added 1,800 non-farm jobs in November. Nearly all of these jobs were in the retail sector, likely reflecting an increase in hiring for the holiday season.

  • Over the year, the San Jose metro area added 11,700 jobs, a 1.3% increase from November 2006.

  • The biggest year-over-year gains were in educational & health services (+3,200 jobs), professional & business services (+2,200 jobs), manufacturing (+1,700 jobs), information (+1,400 jobs), government (+1,200 jobs), and leisure & hospitality (+1,100 jobs).

  • For November 2007, the region's unemployment rate stood at 5.0%, up 0.1 percentage points from last month and up 0.6 points over the year. That translates to 5,800 more unemployed residents than in Nov. 2006.

  • Seven years after the tech crash, Silicon Valley still holds 153,600 fewer jobs than it did in November 2000.

(The San Jose Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) encompasses Santa Clara and San Benito Counties.)

Labels: , ,

[ Continue reading Silicon Valley Jobs Report: Modest growth in November, but more jobs are needed ]

The ballooning housing crisis: San Jose, Morgan Hill and Gilroy most at risk

posted by Louise Auerhahn

Sunday, December 16, 2007, at

Thousands of Silicon Valley families have lost their homes to the ongoing housing crisis, with ten of thousands more impacted as the ripple effects of the crisis continue to spread. Sunday's Mercury News mapped out foreclosures in Santa Clara County so far this year, focusing on the hard-hit East Side neighborhoods of San Jose. Unfortunately, the picture of the housing crisis in Silicon Valley is even worse than revealed by foreclosures alone.

A Working Partnerships analysis of houses currently in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure shows where we can expect more families to face losing their homes in the coming months.

San Jose and South County both have reason for concern: in San Jose, 38.7 houses per every 10,000 residents are currently in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure, with an even higher rate of 43.9 per 10,000 in Morgan Hill and a shocking 62.3 per 10,000 in Gilroy. (Los Altos, on the other hand, is getting along fine with just 3.6 per 10,000.)

Not everyone who's currently in pre-foreclosure (those who, after one or more payments, have received a Notice of Default on their loan) will ultimately have their home foreclosed upon. Some will be able to sell and pay off the mortgage, work out a deal to give up the house without a formal foreclosure, or in the best case scenario, find the money to bring the mortgage current and keep their house. But unless they get help, all of the homeowners currently in pre-foreclosure will be struggling to pay their bills and save their homes.

And the problem won't end there; the biggest wave of ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage) rate resets is projected to continue through the end of 2008 and possibly the first half of 2009, sparking still more foreclosures.

Given how many American families have been or will be impacted by the housing crisis, President Bush's proposal for selective, voluntary rate freezes by lenders is wholly inadequate to the scope of the problem. The Federal Reserve's proposal today looks like it may help to curb some of the worst abuses (something the Fed should have stepped forward to do a long time ago), but also does not adequately tackle the big picture. We need to help those currently affected, fix the laws and practices that encouraged irresponsible or predatory mortgage loans, and make homeownership affordable for working families. The Center for Responsible Lending discusses proposals that could help embattled homeowners and help prevent this crisis from recurring.

On a local scale, homeowners who need help can contact Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley, Project Sentinel, or ACORN Housing.

(Thanks to Brian Darrow for the map.)

Labels: , ,

[ Continue reading The ballooning housing crisis: San Jose, Morgan Hill and Gilroy most at risk ]

Child Care Costs Skyrocket for Valley Families

posted by Louise Auerhahn

Friday, December 14, 2007, at

Are families with kids being priced out of Santa Clara County?

A new report by the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network reveals that the average cost of care for one preschooler in the county is up to $10,597 per year, a 45 percent increase since 2001. Working parents are increasingly hard pressed to keep up with the cost (have you gotten a 45% raise recently?)

The first five years of a child's life are a time of critical intellectual, emotional and physical development. They learn to walk, talk, explore their world and interact socially with adults and other children.

Quality care and early childhood education may be the single most important investment we can make for our community's future. Research overwhelmingly shows that early education is critical to children's success in school and later on in life. Yet right now, kids, parents and providers are all suffering from the under-resourcing of child care and early education.

The cost for infant or toddler care is even further out of reach: $14,454 per year. A minimum wage earner working full-time makes just $15,600 per year. There's simply no way most low-wage workers can afford the market rate for quality child care.

Ironically, the people who are providing care and early education for our youngest kids are themselves in the ranks of low-wage workers. The median wage for child care workers in Silicon Valley is $11.41/hr. No wonder we've got such a shortage of child care (only 50,551 available slots for 195,871 kids, according to the Resource & Referral report.)

Over the next year our region will be making critical decisions about economic development, public budgets, and investments. A key topic in those discussions needs to be figuring out how to make early education work for all kids, parents, and providers.

Labels: , , ,

[ Continue reading Child Care Costs Skyrocket for Valley Families ]

'Las Posadas' urges Code of Conduct for contract workers

posted by Working Partnerships USA

Wednesday, December 12, 2007, at

A large crowd of marchers plus reporters from El Observador and KLIV participated in Tuesday's symbolic re-enactment of "Las Posadas" -- a Mexican holiday tradition remembering Joseph and Mary's search for an inn in Bethlehem -- in support of a Code of Conduct for Silicon Valley contract workers.

More than 8,000 members of South Bay religious congregations have signed cards urging companies using contract workers to endorse a Code of Conduct calling for fair wages and benefits, respect in the workplace, job security and non-interference in their efforts to form a union.

The march, organized by The Interfaith Council, went to Applied Materials and WebEx in Santa Clara, two high-tech companies that contract with Guckenheimer Enterprises for their cafeteria services, and ended with candlelit prayer at the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace.

[ Continue reading 'Las Posadas' urges Code of Conduct for contract workers ]

LeaderNet alumni gather for annual breakfast

posted by Working Partnerships USA

Monday, December 10, 2007, at

Members of the Working Partnerships Leadership Network (LeaderNet) gathered Friday to reflect on key events in the past year and issues to watch for among those committed to the well-being and power of working families in Silicon Valley. Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, executive director of Working Partnerships USA, gave opening remarks about the value of collaboration across sectors and communities. Conversations over pancakes ranged from construction and health care workforce development, to the role of the faith community in the immigration debate, to inclusionary zoning and beyond. We thank our table hosts who led these discussions:

Marlene Bjornsrud, Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative; Chris Block, Charities Housing Development Corporation; John Mills, Office of County Supervisor Ken Yeager; Andy Reid, SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West; Kathy Sakamoto, Japantown Business Association; Sal Ventura, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 332; and Chris Wilder, Valley Medical Center Foundation.


[ Continue reading LeaderNet alumni gather for annual breakfast ]

Important Announcements

posted by Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

Friday, December 7, 2007, at

First, the follow-up meeting around the budget ideas has been scheduled! It will be held on January 12th, 9:30 am. (Stay posted for the location.) At this meeting, the consultants will present their analysis of the ideas we've generated, and we'll prepare a package of suggestions to give to the City.

Second, by popular demand, Working Partnerships Policy Director and former City of San Jose Budget Director Bob Brownstein will present a workshop about the City Budget on January 7th at 7:00pm at Working Partnerships' offices, 2102 Almaden Road. Please respond to this email address if you're interested in attending.

Finally, the ideas we've generated so far have been posted at If reviewing them inspires another idea
for you, feel free to submit it to the site! We'll accept ideas through December 15th.

We hope to see you on the 12th!


[ Continue reading Important Announcements ]

First Community Meeting is Big Success

posted by Working Partnerships USA

Saturday, December 1, 2007, at

Below is the press release from the Community Budget Working Group about today's meeting.

On Saturday, December 1st, the Community Budget Working Group held its first budget discussion, hosting over 100 San Jose residents in a discussion of how the City can best allocate its resources. Community members generated several dozen ideas that will be studied by a professional analysis firm and ultimately presented to the City. Councilmembers Pierluigi Oliverio and Kansen Chu attended the meeting, as did representatives of Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilmember Forrest Williams.

"It was very educational. I'm glad I was invited," said Myrtle Ferrande, one of the community members present. Other participants echoed her enthusiasm, and expressed appreciation for the opportunity for their voices to be heard.

"It was wonderful to see the public involved in a budget conversation," said Michelle Lew, Executive Director of Asian-Americans for Community Involvement, and member of the Working Group's Steering Committee. "Our fear was that without public input, the City's process would have been incomplete. We feel confident today that we've appealed to the best minds in our community and can help complete the picture."

The Working Group will continue to solicit ideas and recommendations at its website through December 15th. A second meeting will be announced for January, at which the analyzed ideas and proposals will be discussed and released publicly.


[ Continue reading First Community Meeting is Big Success ]

© 2007 Working Partnerships USA, All rights reserved.