Opinion: A Selectively Golden State Jobs Outlook

Every year, I, along with Pepperdine’s Michael Shires, have what has become the often-dispiriting job – for a 40-year California resident – of evaluating the nation’s metropolitan regions in terms of both short-term and midterm job growth. Yet, this year, the results for our state’s metros are somewhat improved, as California’s post-recession job-growth rate now equals, and could surpass, the still-somewhat insipid national average.

After years of subpar growth, California is reaping the advantages of a fortuitous economic alignment of ultralow interest rates, high stock values and growing investments in high-end residential real estate. Vast sums are pouring into the state for new tech ventures, speculative hotel and residential developments. Low borrowing rates allow the state to keep pace with its massive debts, while buoyant stocks help the massive government pension plans, which invest in the market.

Silicon Valley successes

The big winner, without question, has been the Bay Area. In our 2015 rankings of the 70 largest metropolitan areas, San Francisco-San Mateo holds first place, while the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area ranks No. 2. The job gains here are nothing short of explosive. From 2009-14, these two areas increased employment by more than 230,000 jobs, roughly a 20 percent jump. Tech employment drove this expansion, with information-sector jobs expanding well above 50 percent in each metro.

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