California’s job figures for June were released today, and Silicon Valley again was half the story.
The Silicon Valley half was a total of nearly 14,000 new jobs across just four counties: San Benito, Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco. Our region is a large part of the reason that the state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent — the lowest rate since 2000. It continues a trend that saw jobs in Silicon Valley increase 24.5 percent between 2010 and 2015.
Yet, despite Silicon Valley’s job growth, California had a net job loss in June, and therein lies the other half of a familiar story: Much of the state continues to struggle economically. This is the “Two Californias” dynamic that the California Business Roundtable honed in on some years ago: a divide that runs east-west rather than north-south, with a wealthy coast and depressed inland regions. The great challenge for our state legislators: How are we to think about economic development policies in a state that has both some of the richest and some of the poorest counties in the country?