East Bay unemployment at highest level in nearly 20 years

The state’s unemployment rate rose to 10.1 percent this week, with unemployment in Alameda and Contra Costa counties at 9.2 percent. That’s way up from about 5 percent a year ago.

In all, close to 120,000 people in the East Bay were jobless in January–72,000 in Alameda and 48,000 in Contra Costa, according to the state Employment Development Department. A spokesman for the department told the San Francisco Chronicle that the East Bay’s current unemployment rate is the highest since 1990.

But here is some consolation, as if we can find any at this point. We’re nowhere near as bad off as places like Imperial County, way in the furthest southeast corner of the state, where the unemployment rate is at 24 percent: or Colusa County, northwest of Sacramento where the rate is at 26 percent.

Which counties are faring the best in these tough times? Ever-blessed Marin County has the state lowest unemployment rate at 6.6 percent, followed not too far behind by San Mateo (7.2 percent) and San Francisco (8 percent) counties.

The state this week put California’s rate even higher, at 10.1 percent. East Bay unemployment, meanwhile, hovers above 9 percent — with 140,000 unemployed workers — up from just over 5 percent a year ago. In San Mateo County, January unemployment stood at 7.2 percent,

6 thoughts on “East Bay unemployment at highest level in nearly 20 years

  1. Soccer Mom,Your report of 120,000 jobless is startling. Also, on the Food Bank website, it reports:“Every month, 98,000 people in Contra Costa and Solano counties rely on the Food Bank.”These numbers are equivalent to double the population of Walnut Creek (from the 2000 census.)Imagine every person all 98,000 or so, lined up in a food pantry line – EVERY MONTH. That is what puts it into perspective for me. That is why I’m inspired to help.


  2. I attended the Neiman Marcus/Macerich meeting on Thursday night. One question that was not addressed: Will Macerich be around long enough to even see the NM project go through? One year ago they were a $5 billion dollar company. Today, they are a $550 million company. As more retail in go under or move because they can’t make the lease payment… Macerich may go bye bye themselves.


  3. Interesting comments Barry, and I would bet that not one person at city hall has even thought about this aspect of the NM project.In their rush to be “the number one shopping destination in the East Bay” and lust(NEED) for tax dollars to support the services they are required to provide their constituents, both council and staff have become blind to the realities of life.In these diminishing economic times, our leaders will not even think of cutting back on expenses regarding the erection of the Library, which will be nothing but a financial drain to the city in the future. Some may argue that it might employ more people but that is doubtful as keeping it open once it is completed will be a real challenge.


  4. Barry, Anna, Thanks for your comments. Barry, I just did another post asking for input from anyone who attended Thursday night’s meeting or any of the community workshops on the Neiman Marcus proposal. I wanted to get to Thursday night’s meeting but couldn’t.


  5. Unfortunately the numbers are squewed on purpose. The actual unemployed is probably much higher. These numbers are based on people currently retaining benefits through California EDD. A large portion of the working population is migrant workers who are not even counted. Then ther are those that have already exhausted their benefits and have fallen off the roles. The actual percentage is realistically over 15%.Now you determine how many people have lost their home, and moved back in with family/friends, and others who are out there in the streets living in cars and such. Trying not to get harassed by the local police.And we have so much further to fall before this is all over. I’m just wondering when we are going to start calling this a depression instead of a recession.The part that really chaps my hide is that $15K would do a world of good for me and many other needy Americans right now. Like get people housing, pay some bills, buy some food. The lower income people will not see any help from all this flouting of the US Treasury.


  6. I lost a paragraph in the posting Soccer Mom! (Weird)I was saying that if they took all the money doled out to the banks and corporations and devided it between the 157 (plus) million tax payers that filed last year we would all get checks for around $15K as it stands right now.


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