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May 29, 2012 > East Bay unemployment lowest in three years

East Bay unemployment lowest in three years

Submitted By Scott Peterson

A report released May 24 by the East Bay Economic Development Alliance (East Bay EDA) shows economic recovery in the region is putting people back to work and improving the quality of life for many East Bay residents.

According to the report, unemployment reached 9.3% in January 2012 - its lowest point since February 2009. Since July 20011, almost 27,000 residents of the East Bay found jobs, while employers are continuing to supply new jobs locally. Industries fundamental to the long-term strength of the East Bay, like health care and professional, scientific, and technical services are growing by some of the largest margins.

"We are encouraged to see the increase in jobs and spending and hold hope that this continues," said Keith Carson, Alameda County Supervisor and East Bay EDA Board Chair.

A flood of investment capital, particularly in clean-tech and industrial energy, is helping the East Bay cement its niche in these sectors. Companies in the region received over $2.5 billion in venture capital funding over the last two years. Nearly $1 billion of this investment went to industrial energy alone, as the region furthers its reputation as the center of the country's clean-tech industry. More traditional "tech" sectors received solid funding as well. Software, biotechnology, and semiconductors together received over $1 billion in funding since 2010.

The economic analysis was prepared for East Bay EDA by Beacon Economics. Dr. Christopher Thornberg, one of California's leading economic forecasters, will present the findings at a special event Thursday, May 24 from 8:00 - 11:00 a.m. at the California Center in Pleasanton. Bank of America is the title sponsor of the East Bay Economic Outlook 2012 event which is hosted by Hacienda Business Park and the City of Pleasanton. Signature sponsors of the event include the East Bay Community Foundation and the University of Phoenix Bay Area Campus.

"Strong year-over-year growth in bellwether sectors like retail trade shows that the short-run gains in the labor market are not aberrations like some had feared, but rather part of a long-term trend in the East Bay," said Dr. Chris Thornberg, founding principal of Beacon Economics.

The full report is available at: http://www.eastbayeda.org/research_facts_figures/newsletters/quarterly/20122/EDA_Outlook2012_web.pdf

The report examines many reasons to be optimistic in the East Bay as the economy continues to see post-recession growth. East Bay residents are clearly benefitting from the broader economic recovery.

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