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Silicon Valley's spectacular job growth creates 'harsh environment' for many residents, report says

George Avalos, The Mercury News on

Published in Business News

"We are at the beginning of addressing the housing challenge," said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. "A year ago, you couldn't have said we were making this much progress. When you see all of the plans for more housing in downtown San Jose and north Mountain View and Santa Clara, I'm optimistic we are starting to get serious about the housing problems."

As for commutes, Bay Area voters this year will determine the fate of a variety of transportation funding measures, which could help address the area's traffic woes.

Meanwhile, the cost of doing business in the Bay Area hasn't chased away the vast majority of tech companies in the region, including the industry's leaders such as Google, Apple and Facebook, the report noted.

"Our well-established, iconic companies are choosing to stay, adding armies of talented people, investing in impressive facilities and remaking our landscape," Hancock stated. "Unemployment is at a historic low. Median household income continues to grow, and it is outpacing inflation. Without question, Silicon Valley is still a hotbed."

The Institute for Regional Studies defines Silicon Valley as Santa Clara County; San Mateo County; the Alameda County cities of Fremont, Newark and Union City; and the Santa Cruz County city of Scotts Valley.

Venture capital spending soared in Silicon Valley, but shrank in San Francisco, the report determined.

VC financing totaled $14 billion in Silicon Valley during 2017, up 50.5 percent from 2016.

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In San Francisco, VC funding in 2017 totaled $10.9 billion, down 21 percent from 2016.

Unemployment levels in Silicon Valley improved to an average level of 2 percent, the lowest since 2000, according to the index report.

"Silicon Valley continues to grow jobs at a rate anybody would envy," Hancock wrote in an introduction to the report. "The tech sector is fueling our growth, and venture capitalists continue to invest in local innovators who in turn are generating patents at a dizzying pace."

(c)2018 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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