Bay Area jobs flourish as farm work withers

The slight drizzle felt across the Bay Area on Sunday was hardly enough to displace the notorious ridge of high pressure disrupting seasonal rain patterns since 2012.

And while job prospects for Central Valley workers involved in the agricultural industry dry up due to the drought, job-seekers in the Bay Area are enjoying a relatively fertile job market.

 Between a building boom funded by taxpayers and a hiring push led by high tech companies, jobless rates in the South Bay and San Francisco are at their lowest in five years, according to research and consulting firm Beacon Economics.

Jordan Levine, an economist and Beacon’s director of economic research, told the Oakland Tribune the employment boom in tech is spilling over into other sectors:

“The tech sector is leasing a lot of space, so that is helping commercial real estate and construction.”

Jon Haveman, chief economist with Marin Consulting in San Rafael, is optimistic:

“What is created here is on the economic frontier of the products and services that are in demand throughout the world.”

George Avalos reports for the Oakland Tribune that both the San Francisco-San Mateo-Marin area and Santa Clara County each added over 5,000 jobs last December.

 The East Bay, on the other hand, lost 500 jobs that month.

The forecast also looks grim for Central Valley farm workers, reports Tim Ryan of CBS-SF.

Michael Bernick, former head of the Employment Department, believes unemployment in the San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Fresno and Merced counties will rise:

“Depending on how the water issue is resolved; it’s an economy that doesn’t have a wide diversity of industry as we have here, for example, in the Bay Area.”

Mike Mallory, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank in Manteca, fears drought-related layoffs will raise demand for food aid:

“I’m trying to be optimistic but it’s going to go up. I could see 15 to 20 percent, easy.”

Current job-seekers can find the latest ranking of Bay Area cities for job prospects here.