Why is This Important?
A sustainable economy offers a diversified mix of jobs to community members of all skill levels and backgrounds. Job growth in emerging industries is a critical means for expanding a community’s overall economy, and employment spread among a range of industries reduces the potential impacts of economic downturns. Locating jobs close to workers homes may reduce time spent commuting and the environmental impact of single vehicle use.
What is a Sustainable State?
In a sustainable state the number of jobs and number of people seeking employment is in balance and employment is spread among a diverse mix of industries.
How Are We Doing?
· In 2009, the national economic recession continued to adversely impact the San Mateo County job market. About 21,000 jobs were lost for the year, about 6 percent of the county total. It was the most jobs lost in the county since 2002. As a state, California lost almost 775,000 jobs in 2009, about 4.5 percent of all jobs statewide.
· Most job sectors were impacted, though job losses were highest among manufacturing (15 percent loss) and professional services (7 percent loss). Education and health services were the only job sectors to see job growth in the last year.
· Despite the job losses, San Mateo County continues to have among the lowest unemployment rates in the state. As of the end of October 2010, the unemployment rate in San Mateo County stood at 8.5 percent, the second lowest in the state. (See also: Economy: Unemployment indicator).
· San Mateo County continues to have a diverse mix of employment among industries, with at least six different employment sectors having more than 10 percent of total jobs. The largest employment sector in the county in 2009 was trade, transportation, and utilities, comprising 22 percent of all jobs. These jobs include retail trade, warehousing, and jobs at San Francisco International Airport, one of the largest employers in the county.
· Jobs in high wage employment sectors such as business and professional services and information services together comprise about 25 percent of jobs in the county, a much higher concentration than the state average. The rate of professional and technical services employment (a subset of this sector) is roughly twice the state average.
· The California Employment Development Department (EDD) projects employment in information technology to grow more than 20 percent in the county over the next six years. They also project employment in business and professional services and financial activities to grow 16 percent and 15 percent respectively.
· While all job sectors are expected to show positive growth over the next six years, the total number of jobs in the county in 2016 will still be below the 2001 peak.
· Small firms continue to form the foundation for employment in the county. Over 63 percent of all businesses have between zero and four employees. Approximately 40 percent of all workers are employed at firms with fewer than 50 employees.
· The average annual wage per San Mateo County worker is $68,700, second highest in the state. Santa Clara County has the highest average annual wage at $79,404.
· Educational attainment in the county is also higher than the state average, with 43 percent of all residents holding bachelors degrees or higher. Statewide, about 27 percent of all residents have bachelors degrees or higher.
· Average wages in San Mateo County have grown at or above the cost of living for the last decade. Since 2001, the average weekly wage for all workers in San Mateo County increased by 22.8 percent. During that same time, the consumer price index for the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose Metropolitan area increased 15.3 percent.
· At the same time, total payroll in the county (a broader indicator of the overall economic health of businesses), has not increased in the county in three years, and is only 7 percent higher than the previous peak in 2001.
· San Mateo County is a net importer of workers at moderate and high wage levels from surrounding counties, indicating an imbalance between available jobs and residents with the qualifications to fill them. At the same time, there is a surplus of workers at the lowest wage levels, ($15,000 or less per year), meaning the county is a net exporter of jobs at the lowest wage levels. Over 9,000 jobs at the lowest wage levels (about 16 percent of all such jobs) have been lost since 2003.
Commuting and San Mateo County
· San Mateo County is largely a bedroom community for the greater Bay Area, primarily Santa Clara County and San Francisco County. Among county residents with a job, only 42 percent of those jobs are in San Mateo County, meaning on any given day, more than half of all workers leave the county to go to work. Twenty-one percent of workers commuted to Santa Clara County and 17 percent commuted to San Francisco County.
· Over 34 percent of employed residents commute more than 30 minutes per day to their place of work, and commutes in single occupancy vehicles accounted for at least 70 percent of all trips to work in 2009. (See also: Transportation: Vehicle Use and Public Transit indicator).
· In 2000, about 11,000 workers who resided in San Mateo County reported working at home, about 3.1 percent of all workers. In 2009, over 21,000 workers reported working at home, or 6.2 percent of all workers.
· Notably, there were 3,000 more jobs in San Mateo County than employed residents in 2009, meaning even if all employed residents worked in the county, the county would still need to import workers to fill every available job. This highlights the need for continued development of new housing near employment centers in the county.
· The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) estimates that San Mateo County needs to generate almost 2,000 new units of housing on average per year over the next eight years to meet the 2007-2014 Regional Housing Needs Assessment target for the county. In no year in the past four have there been more than 1,000 new units created.
· Green jobs are loosely defined as those related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean technology, or other industries focused on reducing environmental impacts. Green jobs are appropriate for workers of many different skill sets, from plumbers and electricians to engineers and architects. San Mateo County has launched a number of initiatives—both public and private—to encourage growth in this type of employment.
· The San Mateo County Green Jobs Academy provides in classroom and on-the-job training for at-risk youth in fields such as environmental conservation and information technology. As of December 31, 2010, the program had graduated 150 students.
· JobTrain offers two green-job-focused vocational training programs, training students to be solar installation or home weatherization technicians.
· The San Mateo Union School District and South San Francisco Unified are participating in an innovative new program to help develop solar projects (and the green jobs that accompany them) at schools. The program involves use of a federal school bond program to finance solar project construction by trading tax credits from the generation of renewable energy. Together these two school districts have begun financing and constructing $47 million in solar projects.
Jobs and Housing
· As of November 2010, San Mateo County had the second highest median home value in the state, at $712,500. The creation of new (and especially affordable) housing and its proximity to major employment centers is of paramount importance to the long-term sustainability of the county.
· FOCUS is a coordinated, regional incentive-based development and conservation strategy for the Bay Area. FOCUS represents the combined efforts of four agencies—ABAG, MTC, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). The primary goal of FOCUS is to encourage growth in areas near transit in order to provide better housing, employment, and transportation choices for all residents.
· A key area of emphasis for the FOCUS strategy is to identify and fund Priority Development Areas (PDAs). These are areas identified by local jurisdictions as key opportunities for infill development, typically transit oriented, where jobs and housing can be closely linked. The following table highlights proposed or approved PDAs in San Mateo County. In total, these project areas encompass over 9,700 acres of potential infill and transit-oriented development.
· The Grand Boulevard Initiative is an ongoing effort among 19 cities, counties, and local agencies in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties to transform El Camino Real into a more urbanized corridor with better transit and more housing and jobs. In total, the El Camino Real Corridor holds the potential to redevelopment as much as 6,400 acres of existing low density residential and commercial development.
Job Training and Workforce Development
· The San Mateo County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) is the primary workforce development organization in the county. Created in 1998, the board is comprised of local government, nonpro t service providers, and business leaders from the community. The board’s primary function is to manage PeninsulaWorks one-stop career centers, which bring together a wide variety of job training and skill development resources under one roof. PeninsulaWorks has a primary location in Daly City along with a partnership with JobTrain in Menlo Park.
· JobTrain, funded in part by the WIB, provides comprehensive services to disadvantaged adults, including vocational training, academics, and life skills classes. JobTrain offers seven different career tracks for vocational training, including computer service, culinary arts, medical of ce assistant, office skills, professional health care worker, Project Build, and two green jobs oriented programs on solar installation and weatherization.
· JobTrain enrolled approximately 7,000 individuals in fiscal year 2010, an increase of 25 percent from 2009, and placed 75 percent of those individuals in new jobs.
· In 2009/10, total visits to WIB managed career centers increased to over 105,000, up 20 percent from the prior year. The average wage for clients place in new jobs through the program was $17.33 per hour, and 44 percent of all clients were successfully place in new jobs after completing the program.
· The Peninsula Family Service agency provides job placement and career guidance services specifically for persons 55 and older.
· The San Mateo Office of Education offers the Regional Occupational Program (ROP) which provides continuing vocational education to high school and adult students. The ROP program offers courses in business, health care, service and trade, and industrial technology. The program is low or no-cost for high school students, and all high schools in the county have a counselor assigned to assist current students with enrolling in ROP classes.
· San Mateo County Department of Human Services runs the Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS). VRS is a program that assists residents with significant employment barriers (such as mental health issues) to find employment through training, counseling, and case management. VRS partners with local agencies (such as PeninsulaWorks) as well as other nonprofit service providers to assist sponsored clients. One of VRS’ most successful partnerships to date was with Goodwill Industries through the ReCompute program, a past SSMC award winner.