;

June 2012

Unemployment

Bay Area unemployment showed a slight decrease between April and May 2012. Unemployment rates in California and the U.S. as a whole remained relatively stable with 0.1 percentage point decrease in California and 0.1 percentage point increase at the national level. Over the course of the past year, however, unemployment rates have demonstrated a gradual recovery. California's unemployment rate has progressively dropped, from 11.9% in May 2011 to 10.8 % in May 2012. Similarly, the national unemployment rate has decreased over time, from 9.0% in May 2011 to 8.2% in May 2012.

Among the Bay Area counties, unemployment rates in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara remained stable between April and May 2012. All other counties experienced slight declines in unemployment, except for a slight increase in Alameda. Six of the nine area counties fall within the 10 lowest in the state, with Marin again posting the lowest of all.  At its current rate of 7.4 percent, San Francisco joins Santa Barbara as the county with the 3rd lowest unemployment rate in California. Other noteworthy counties: San Diego (8.8), Los Angeles (11.1), Sacramento (10.5).

 

Bay Area Unemployment Rates
(Data Not Seasonally Adjusted)

 

County

May-12

Apr-12

May-11

Alameda

9.1%

8.9%

10.2%

Contra Costa

9.0%

9.1%

10.2%

Marin*

6.3%

6.4%

7.2%

Napa

7.5%

8.3%

8.4%

San Francisco

7.4%

7.4%

8.4%

San Mateo

6.8%

6.8%

7.9%

Santa Clara

8.2%

8.2%

9.6%

Solano

10.1%

10.2%

11.3%

Sonoma

8.3%

8.6%

9.4%
*Lowest in state. Source: CA-EDD
 

                       

 

Housing

 

  All homes

Sales Volume

Median Price

May-11

May-12

%Chng

May-11

May-12

%Chng

Alameda

1,349

1,834

36.0%

$348,000

$355,000

2.0%

Contra Costa   

1,483

1,651

11.3%

$255,000

$295,000

15.7%

Marin          

227

322

41.9%

$640,000

$627,000

-2.0%

Napa            

122

149

22.1%

$340,000

$329,000

-3.2%

Santa Clara     

1,654

2,143

29.6%

$498,000

$529,000

6.2%

San Francisco

492

565

14,8%

$660,000

$701,000

6.2%

San Mateo       

599

775

29.4%

$573,000

$560,000

-2.3%

Solano         

602

713

18.4%

$189,000

$190,000

0.5%

Sonoma          

460

658

43.0%

$313,500

$300,250

-4.2%

Bay Area       

6,988

8,810

26.1%

$372,000

$400,000

7.5%

Source: DataQuick News
 

In May 2012, Bay Area home sales soared to a six-year high as economic activity continued to pick up. The number of new and resale houses and condos sold in the Bay Area was up 14.8 percent from April, and 26.1 percent from May of last year.  The spike in home sales can be mostly attributed to more expensive sales; sales in the $400,000 to $800,000 category rose 26.2 percent. DataQuick president John Walsh infers that this move-up trend is a result of many who plan to exploit the unnaturally low mortgage rates and home prices before the economy swings into full recovery.

Last month, a mixture of fewer foreclosures and greater mid- to high-end deals resulted in the median sale price rising to $400,000, up 7.5 percent from May 2011. The resale market was comprised of foreclosures by 21.9 percent, dropping to its lowest proportion of the market since 2008. Jumbo loans, mortgages above the old conforming limit of $417,000, consituted 36.6 percent of last month's purchase lending, up from 32.6 percent one year ago. At the peak of the housing bubble, jumbo loans accounted for nearly 60 percent of the Bay Area purchase loan market.

 

California - America's Biotechnology Hub

California is not only the birthplace of the biotechnology industry but also continues to be the nation’s major industry cluster. The state is home to one-third of US biotech firms and nearly 20 percent of the industry’s labor force. According to the BATELLE/Bio State Bioscience Industry Report California has the largest bioscience employment base in the US.

By the numbers (all 2011):

  • 2,323 biomedical companies in California
  • $115.4 billion total revenues
  • 270,000 total employment
  • Steady job growth in California biotech sectors - even during recent recession years
  • More than 750,000 direct and indirect jobs supported
  • $3.4 billion total venture capital investment in California biomedical companies
  • $18.6 billion total biomedical exports
  • California has a specialization in three of the five major biotech subsectors - research, testing & medical labs; medical devices & equipment; drugs & pharmaceuticals
  • The largest subsector - research, testing & medical labs, has increased employment by 36 percent since 2001

For more information see California Biomedical Industry Report 2012

Within California, the San Francisco cluster is the largest and longest established and is recognized as the leading center for biotechnology in the US. The breadth and depth of the region’s biotech sector are distinct from other clusters. Compared to Boston - the nation’s other biotech center - that is mostly based on a few large pharmaceutical companies, the Bay Area has a much higher proportion of small biotech companies. This is partly due to the region’s unique funding environment: $2.3 billion of venture capital was invested in 2011 in San Francisco’s biotechnology and medical devices companies. Together the Boston and San Francisco clusters are anticipated to continue leading the global biotechnology industry in the coming years.

SFCED Projections based on the California Biomedical Industry Report suggest the addition of up to 2,880 new biotech jobs in San Francisco until the year 2020. Today the city hosts about 14,000 Jobs in the sector.

 

Retail Market

San Francisco’s retail market showed a strong performance in the first quarter of 2012. Fueled by a robust economy, the addition of 25,700 new jobs over the last year, and 16 million domestic and international visitors in 2011, retail sales rose by 5.3% year-over-year in March 2012, according to Cushman & Wakefield research.

International retailers increased their footprint in San Francisco in the last quarter. Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo - the world’s third largest - is the most prominent example with its leasing of 29,000 square feet at 111 Powell Street.

Vacancy rates in Union Square dropped from 3.8% one year ago to 2.2% in 1Q12. Rents remained rather flat in Union Square and rose in the Post Street area. As San Francisco is expected to outperform other US markets in the following months, a stronger rent growth is predicted in the following quarters of 2012.

Office Market

Commercial Real Estate: The tech boom continues to drive San Francisco's office market to new heights. While vacancy was down to 11% in the first quarter of 2012, and average asking rents rose to $39.87 psf, a recent outlook by real estate analysts Reis suggests there will be no return to the office mania of the Dot-Com era. Double-digit vacancy rates and moderate absorption are assumed to cushion the tight office market despite above-average rent growth. By the year 2012, Reis projects effective rents to average $44.16 psf. That means a strong rent growth by 6-7% per year but would not approach the staggering rent peaks of $58.33 psf recorded in 2000. At present there are 1,223 contiguous blocks of available Class A and B on the market, including 13 blocks more than 100,000 square feet.

2012.2

Source: Colliers International

San Francisco's High Tech Boom

Seems as though Silicon Valley is shifting northbound: A Wall Street Journal analysis of California employment data indicates that San Francisco is catching up with San Jose, when it comes to high-tech jobs. While San Francisco's technology sector is still significantly smaller, it is growing faster – a trend that in recent months has accelerated.

As of April 2012, 94,100 people in the San Francisco metropolitan area worked in tech jobs. That was up 10% from 85,400 a year ago. In the San Jose metropolitan area high-tech sectors employed 211,000 people, up 3% from 205,000 a year ago. This change comes as more and more tech and social media companies – like Airbnb, Zynga and Twitter – choose the urban setting of San Francisco as their location and hire aggressively while Silicon Valley veterans like Hewlett-Packard and Cisco in the San Jose region are cutting jobs.

Overall, the entire Bay Area economy is faring well compared with other regions: in April, unemployment was 7% in San Francisco and 8.4% in San Jose

 

Intersolar North America Conference

The SFCED was the original catalyst in attracting Intersolar to San Francisco and welcomes them on their fifth anniversary. North America’s major solar technology event is welcoming attendees from across the globe on July 5, 2012 at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center and adjacent Intercontinental Hotel. Intersolar North America Conference and Exhibition provide a unique opportunity to gain crucial insights into all aspects of today’s dynamic solar industry – from latest technology advancements to market developments to policy and finance issues. Spanning three continents, hosting more than 3,500 exhibitors and attracting 120,000 visitors in 2012, Intersolar is recognized as the world’s leading brand for solar exhibitions.

 

Conference Quick Facts Exhibition Quick Facts
Dates July 9-12th, 2012 Dates July 10-12
Venue

Inter Continental Hotel, 888 Howard Street, San Francisco CA 94103

Venue Moscone Center, North and West Hall, 747 Howard Street, San Francisco CA 94103
Speakers 200 Exhibitors 3,500
Attendees 1,600 Attendees 22,000
Sessions 30+    

 

Learn more about the event and register at http://www.intersolar.us

 

QuickFacts is produced by the San Francisco Center for Economic Development (www.sfced.org). For more information please contact:

Dennis Conaghan
Executive Director
415.352.8819
Email: dconaghan@sfced.org
www.sfced.org

 
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