New Data from U.S. Census Shows (Mostly) Broad and Steady Employment Growth, Highlights Changing Nature of Bay Area Economy
Economic Development
Chirag Rabari April 23, 2018
By Chirag Rabari
Construction on the San Francisco Skyline

The latest U.S. Census data from the 2016 County Business Patterns series shows continued overall growth for the nine-county Bay Area in employment as well as the number of business establishments. While the news is mostly good, the data also reveals some soft spots, and further highlights some of the disparities that have developed between different parts of the Bay Area, as well as between different industries. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the latest data to look at: Bay Area Employment, or the number of employees as of the First Quarter of a given year, and Bay Area Business

Self-Driving Trucks and the Demand for Truckers
Chirag Rabari February 5, 2018
By Chirag Rabari
Cordelia Truck Weigh Station

Whenever self-driving vehicles come up, the question of long-term employment effects is never far behind: What happens to the millions of people who drive for a living? Although this jumps over a lot of feasibility issues in terms of how likely autonomous and connected vehicles really are, it’s a crucial consideration. The impacts on industries and people’s livelihoods will have all kinds of implications, whether economic, political, regulatory, social or technical – and these will all have feedback effects in determining whether, when and how the driverless utopia happens. Over at The


Large Homebuilder Pulls Out of North Bay Rebuilt Effort

By Chirag Rabari
North Bay fires

We recently discussed how record low unemployment across the Bay Area combined with a severe housing shortage could create unexpected challenges for the region, especially as relates to achieving ambitious policy goals that involve significantly increasing housing-related construction activity. Late last week brought unfortunate confirmation of the broader dynamics involved here, with news that a large homebuilder was pulling out of plans to rebuild homes lost during the North Bay wildfires. The reason? Financial feasibility concerns driven by a "general labor shortage in home construction" Read More

Record Low Unemployment Across (Much of) the Bay Area, and the Delicate Policy Dance That Follows
Chirag Rabari January 16, 2018
By Chirag Rabari
SF-Oak-Hay unemployment

The Bay Area economy has mostly had a good run since the dark days of the Great Recession (although the benefits have been uneven and not without their complications). For all the hype about the latest tech boom and the length of the current expansion, however, many key regional economic measures had not surpassed records set during the dot-com era nearly two decades ago. New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (via FRED) indicate this is starting to change, though. To wit: most key urbanized areas (or MSAs) in the region are at or near record low unemployment levels. As shown in the