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Silicon Valley Worker Shortage Creates Upside-Down Labor Market

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Credit: Power Formula

Higher education is supposed to be the ticket to employment. But in some San Francisco Bay Area counties, workers with a high school diploma have lower unemployment rates than those with bachelor's degrees or higher.

Experts suggested the Bay Area's backwards numbers, which run counter to the U.S. trend, could be the result of too-few lower-wage workers, many of whom have been driven out by skyrocketing housing prices and the rising cost of living.

In Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, the unemployment rate for workers with a high school degree is 3.3 percent, compared to a 3.6 percent rate for workers with a bachelor's degree or higher, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2017 American Community Survey.

The same situation exists in Marin and Sonoma counties, where workers with at least a bachelor's degree don't have the lowest unemployment rate.

But workers with at least a bachelor's degree continue to be in high demand. And those workers are still better paid than their less educated counterparts. A worker in Santa Clara County with a high school degree had median annual earnings of about $34,500, according to 2017 census figures. For workers with a bachelor's degree, the median earnings are $81,700—and more for workers with graduate degrees.

From The Mercury News
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