In this new day of sequestration and all that that implies, good news is important and today Doug Oakley couldn't be bringing it too soon for the Bay area, and Berkeley in particular. Oakley reported that Berkeley at the end of 2012 had an unemployment rate of 7.8% in a labor force of about 60,000. Alameda County reported a 8.2% unemployment with the state level of 9.7% as reported by Michael Caplan from the latest state Employment Development Department.
Further, there was the that 70% of the Berkeley residents over 25 years old have undergraduate degrees and that Berkeley has had consistently lower unemployment rates over the years. The US Census Bureau reported in comparison that 30% of all California residents, and 41% Alameda County residents had college degrees.
This is particularly good news since we hear a great deal about the mountain of debt students have as a result of getting their college degrees. And there has been the question as to whether the degrees really work for the students who end up jobless in debt. Consistently Berkeley has had low unemployment, Oakley points out in his article. As reported by the Employment Development Department, Berkeley residents with college graduates in 2007 and 2011 had a rate of 3.9% unemployment, 14.6% for high school grads and 20%. So the college degree in Berkeley has made a big difference.
Oakley also reports that self employment is estimated to be 20% in Berkeley, compared to a national average of 11% self employed. People come to UC Berkeley, are glad to be close to the life and the energy of San Francisco, and figure out ways to stay often for the lifestyle. The relatively non competitive vibe has a value using your energy and time toward projects and art, music and politics. Artists, writers, bloggers and consultants thrive and fill the many coffee shops around town. Your bike or skateboard and public transportation make Berkeley unique in its standards for good life. Recently the high cost of housing in San Francisco has large numbers of "The City" residents to the hills and valleys of Berkeley and Oakland. A rental in Berkeley two years ago had 10 responses compared to over 50 in my neighborhood, and a recent report by the San Francisco Chronicle showed the double digit increase in rents there.
Creative people, a good night life and a community that takes its City Council up on all its concerns pretty regularly on Tuesday nights. Your degree counts as does your interest in a life in a community that allows and encourages participation and engagement in where and how you live your life, and in the world.