SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — President Obama spoke Friday about the new unemployment numbers which show signs of slow but steady improvement in the job market and that the economy is finally beginning to rebound.
Friday’s report shows that the past six months have been the best stretch of job creation in five years. It puts the unemployment rate at 8.5 percent, still very high, but it is the lowest figure in almost three years. For all of 2011, the economy added 1.6 million jobs, but lost 8.7 million during the great recession, it is still 7 million jobs behind and there are 13 million people unemployed.
These are all signs of a very slow turnaround and it is clear there is a long way to go in terms of making up for all the jobs lost during the recession. However, keep in mind that the unemployment rate was just over 10 percent in October 2009. It now stands at 8.5 percent. Bay Area economists say Silicon Valley is leading a national job recovery.
“The big driver, no question, is tech, and when I say tech, I mean specifically cloud computing, mobile devices, applications, software, internet companies,” says CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network Russell Hancock.
Google, for example, has thousands of job openings mostly in sales and engineering. Facebook is expanding its new Menlo Park campus and out of work skilled professionals like one Promatch group from NOVA’s workforce program are feeling more optimistic.
“Silicon Valley is the most exciting place to be, smart people, innovation, people reinventing themselves all the time,” Dennis Werkmeister told ABC7.
Ten Promatch members landed jobs just last week. Gwen Wages says companies are finally taking notice of her biotech resume.
“I put in an application and I got a call back from a recruiter in an hour which means it’s really changed, because there was times when nothing happened,” she says. “You put in your resume and you hear nothing. Crickets.”
The national jobless rate has now fallen for four months in a row. Manufacturing is up, consumer confidence is getting stronger, and small businesses are bouncing back. Experts say all of that bodes well for slow but steady economic growth, which means more jobs.
“If we are in an isolated spot and just one industry and one geography, then it’s fragile and might not last. Seeing the national numbers makes it feel like no, we’re just on the cutting-edge of slowly rising labor market,” says NOVA Workforce Director Kris Stadelman.
More will be known about the job outlook in the Bay Area and the rest of California later this month when those numbers are released on January 20.