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Jobs, jobs, jobs

By SP follow SP   2007 Apr 18, 5:04pm 30,641 views   444 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    


It has often been said here that the only thing that will cause a drop in Bay Area housing prices is widespread job-losses.

Perversely, this is actually also used as a spurious justification not to hope for a drop in prices -

"Prices will drop only if jobs disappear, and you would not want to lose your job, would you? So you better not hope for a drop in price."

Proof by denial, as it were. Ignoring the completely asinine logic inherent in that line of argument...

I would like to discuss what you think are the prospects of the job market here.

What industry are you in? What is the outlook for your niche? What are your employers doing? Don't name any employers, just share general information about what the hiring trend is for late 2007 and beyond.

My own expectation is that we will see a slowdown in the second half of 2007. Based on the financing I have seen, I also expect trouble in the web-2.0 startup scene by the end of the year, when some of them will fail to get additional funding and will either be acquired for i.p., or shut down in early '08. And this is even before factoring in macro issues like tech-spending and the larger economic picture.

What do you think?
SP

#housing

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405   DinOR   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 6:30am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

@astrid

Funny! LOL!

I used to HATE that! You'd be cold callin' your monkey butt off and doing your little "pitch" and the prospect would say "Portland? Portland, Maine or Portland, Oregon?" (Laughs at own joke, hangs up). Arghh.

OR:

Portland, Oregon? I only do business with people from Portland, M_A_I_N_E! (Laughs at own joke, hangs up) Double Arghh!

406   Jimbo   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 7:11am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

My daughter was doing a Psych Rotation at UCSF. One day she was interviewing a patient with homicidal tendencies. The next week she saw her on a San Francisco bus.
Nice.

I am sure you have people like that in Danville, but there they are behind the wheel of a car instead of sitting next to you on the bus, which is arguably worse.

San Francisco schools are a very mixed bag. There some very good, even great schools here (Lowell HS comes to mind) and there are some real stinkers.

Our plan, which I have finally gotten my wife to buy off on, is to go through the whole school choice ranking and lottery and then see where our daughter ends up. If she gets into the good school near our house, great. If she gets into a good school across town, we will either rent or buy there and keep our current place. If she she gets into a bad school, then we will decide to either put her in private school or move to the suburbs.

Danville is a perfectly nice example of an Ameircan suburb, but I don't really see what sets it apart from all the other perfectly nice cookie-cutter suburbs all over the country. It is a bit pricier than average, but in line with the rest of the Bay Area. I guess the weather is pretty good.

407   Malcolm   ignore (2)   2007 Apr 21, 7:22am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Astrid, Justchecking

Re: Mental capacity/age

I have seen the same results graphically about mental aptitude and age. I think you are both right. The studies showed actually at 35 learning, and mental faculites start to go. On a chart it is actually pretty dramatic. The reasoning for this is what Justchecking was saying; less practice causes atrophy.

The conclusion was encouraging; teachers, and those sorts of professionals were affected to an almost insignificant degree in comparison to others. The theory is if you don't use it, you lose it and so they estimated that if more people did things like take classes, learn new things, and stay stimulated, their mental faculties wil be preserved into older age.

408   Jimbo   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 7:32am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Frisco vs. San Francisco is more of a social class thing, I think. Herb Caen called it San Francisco or The City and said "never call it Frisco." The Hell's Angels have their Frisco Chapter.

My truck driving step-father calls it Frisco.

Who am I to correct him?

409   Malcolm   ignore (2)   2007 Apr 21, 7:32am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

What about San Fran?

410   Jimbo   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 7:37am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Or even SF as in "ess-eff"? I don't know where I picked up calling it that, maybe from all my years in "ell-ay"...

411   Malcolm   ignore (2)   2007 Apr 21, 7:42am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

People here do that all the time. Pacific Beach PB, University Town Center UTC. San Diego has its own fun quirky sayings. Mostly in the older hippie parts, OB for Ocean Beach. Maybe it's left over from 60s lingo.

412   LowlySmartRenter   ignore (1)   2007 Apr 21, 7:43am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I don't think Danville is quintessential cookie-cutter. For that, head a little further south to San Ramon (aka San Remote) or much further south to Irvine. Literally every street looks the same.

I've heard a couple of theories about the cookie-cutter design. One is that it's easier to maintain control of the look and feel if most of the homes look the same; a non-conforming paint color or what have you stands out more easily. Two is that creating similar blocks makes it difficult for would be criminals to get in and out of the neighborhoods quickly. Cul-de-sacs also thwart that kind of 'undesirable' traffic.

I've only seen a handful of homeless/vagrant types in San Ramon or Danville, primarily by the freeway. I see a marked increase in such folks in Pleasanton, near the BART station. Again, I think the overall pristine design of these areas makes a vagrant or homeless person really stand out. I get the impression some of these folks got kicked off the BART at the end of the line there in Pleasanton, or fell asleep on the way and missed their stop. Regardless, they don't seem to hang around. I know for a fact that in Irvine, the Police swept the streets every night and deported anyone who couldn't prove their residency to Santa Ana. Not sure if Danville or San Ramon does the same kind of sweep, but it wouldn't surprise me if they do.

As a result, I face a long drive to do any kind of meaningful volunteer work. We don't have food banks, shelters, or crumbling schools here. I know that's an odd complaint, but I enjoy helping in a hands on way, and the needy seem to center around SF and Oakland.

413   Malcolm   ignore (2)   2007 Apr 21, 7:50am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I like cookie cutter tract homes which look planned, and have community features, but I am burned out with the cookie cutter mall, and stip mall look. No matter where I go; Denver, Texas, Phoenix especially, or right here, cities are all starting to look the same. Every city in this country just adds it's own trademark single tourist photo spot with a Wal Mart Center. San Diego at least has unique water features, and canyons which force some uniqueness in planning. That was the one thing I liked visiting San Francisco, it is very unique and recognizable.

414   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 7:51am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Since I'm rarely in SF itself, I usually refer to the region as the Bay Area. I think SF prevails in my usage, while my boyfriend calls it "the City."

DC is a lot easier that way, though people who live in DC or close in suburbs always refer to the neighborhoods (since someone living in Georgetown or DuPont Circle would never venture into Southwest DC).

415   Malcolm   ignore (2)   2007 Apr 21, 7:53am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I think a lot of it is building costs, Lowly. There is an economy of scale to building 100 similar homes in one spot that to build one house at a time.

416   Malcolm   ignore (2)   2007 Apr 21, 7:54am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I call everything North of Camp Pendleton LA. My girlfriend who is from Santa Monica takes great offense.

417   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 7:56am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

The nice part of Danville is gorgeous and quite inaccessible. I can't imagine how a homeless person could wander into Blackhawk.

418   Malcolm   ignore (2)   2007 Apr 21, 7:56am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

It's all LA to me. Los Angeles to me is a city in LA. Los Angeles County, to me is a place in that LA area up there.

419   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 7:57am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I meant Southeastern DC, South western DC is not too bad, especially with recent gentrification.

420   LowlySmartRenter   ignore (1)   2007 Apr 21, 8:06am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Yeah, I think you're right Malcolm. What is interesting is how that has morphed into something beyond cost cutting, to a certain psychology. Residents who choose these types of developments actually have begun to desire that sameness, and see it as a plus. Having lived in some of the not-so-so-nice areas of LA, and through the riots, I have to admit that cookie cutter is very appealing to me now.

There are few cities that get the balance right. San Francisco (which I call "the city") is one of them. The variety in architecture across the city along with all the cultural offerings can still be enjoyed without fear of being gunned down, car jacked, or the victim of a home invasion robbery. I know the tenderloin and other parts are dicey, but I tell you, the worst parts of San Francisco are nothing compared to the hell holes of LA. I think this is what people mean when they say "it's different here".

Now if only I had a couple million laying around to buy a nice condo in the Presidio. :)

421   Jimbo   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:09am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

LowlySmartRenter, you are right, the suburbs do not contribute their fair share to the nationwide mental health treatment problem. About 1/2% of the population is schizophrenic, but you can bet that is not true in Danville. They just dump their mentally ill on surrounding communities.

422   DinOR   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:12am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Jimbo,

Uh or the Hell's Angels for that matter.

I used to love San Pedro (ell-ay). It was like the world's biggest garage sale/swap meet. If they didn't have it, "it" hasn't been invented yet!

423   DinOR   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:13am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Somehow calling Portland "the city" just doesn't feel right?

424   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:14am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I don't see anything wrong with well planned sameness, that makes the neighborhood look coherent rather than all jumbled up.

425   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:15am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

DinOR
Howabout POR???

426   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:18am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Drought prone areas of the West are probably most vulnerable to the cookie cutter malaise. On the east coast, a tract home neighborhood gets a little more distinctive after the landscaping matures.

427   Jimbo   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:23am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Blackhawk is certainly unique, but Danville has 42,000 residents. Not very many of them can live in Blackhawk, unless it is much larger than I realized.

428   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:29am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Malcolm and justchecking,

Thanks for the cite. Still...although I still process a lot of new information, I feel that I'm more and more constrained in my way of learning and interacting to information. Nowadays, I have a very particular way of approaching information and projects. The approach usually works for me, but I do fear that it'll calcify over time, as I see amongst my older coworkers.

I don't think that this is necessarily a bad phenomena overall, people adopt certain approaches over time because they work, but I imagine it is still a hardship for older computer programmers.

429   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:35am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Jimbo,

My understanding is that Danville is about half and half, a part of it looks similar to Pleasanton or San Ramon, nice but not supernice. The foothills area I've seen are quite nice. The Wikipedia entry seems to confirm my perceptions about Danville.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danville%2C_California

430   Lost Cause   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:36am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I (quite by accident) drove thru Fresno last summer and it (along with the rest of the valley) was icky. That’s where my wife invented the term “roof farms” as far as the eye can see.

What's funny is that, as soon as you pass the roof farms, on the real farms they are now raising corn, to put into your gas tank.

431   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:40am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Bork,

According to the Wikipedia entry, Blackhawk is unincorporated. Isn't it just one big planned golf course community right next to Danville? Since it's unincorporated but next to Danville, I just mentally lump it in.

432   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:42am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Danville is quite mysterious due to its lack of shopping and highway exits. My boyfriend and I sometimes refer to mysterious locations or people as "Danville."

433   Lost Cause   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:44am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

PS -- “roof farms -- I call them feed lots.

434   FormerAptBroker   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:45am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

BigBrother Says:

> FAB, I live in the city. SFH over $3 million is getting
> very common now, just as $2 million SFH were
> common in 2006, and over $1million were common
> in 2005. The trend is upward pricing.

With less than 1% of all sales in SF over $3mm it is a push to say they are “very common”. You still have not told us the address of even one of your investment homes.

> These $3.5 million houses were in the mid $2 millions
> just a year or two ago. The lot sizes have not changed.

Wow 40% appreciation in “just a year or two”. You have not told us the name of your real estate firm.

> The point is, over time, prices go up. If you’re not building your assets, you’re falling behind.

You forgot to add that “they are not making any more land”…

> Just look at everything you buy: gas, milk, the beef mexi-melt
> at Taco Bell, your salary.

Have you looked at Sun, Oracle, Yahoo, Amazon or Cisco? When do you think they will get back to 1999 values?

Most people (with the exception of some confused posters from prime areas) people on this blog will answer my questions (and I’ll answer any question people ask me). If you don’t want to answer my questions or have a dialog just post over at the Craig’s List forums…

436   Peter P   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 8:58am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Does Word 2007 has a table feature? Wordpress does have a table add on, but I’m not sure if that’s worth getting. Our intranet is likely to migrate onto a Sharepoint 2007 platform, so I might as well familiarize myself with Microsoft products.

Word has had tables for a long time. I do not know how well they integrate with bloggin though.

I like Word 2007 mostly because of the real-time word count feature. It dynamically updates the number of words on the status bar.

Word also has pretty good integrated research features (dictionary, thesarus, etc).

437   LowlySmartRenter   ignore (1)   2007 Apr 21, 9:01am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I live about a half mile from Blackhawk, and I cannot tell you a thing about it because it's mostly gated. I always thought it was part of Danville.

Among my friends, we say the word Blackhawk through our noses, kind of like the way Mrs. Howell might say it.

Still, I find the Mt. Diablo area on the whole to be one of the most beautiful places I've ever lived. Great place to hike or bike.... until you run into a darn gate.

438   Peter P   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 9:26am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I live about a half mile from Blackhawk, and I cannot tell you a thing about it because it’s mostly gated. I always thought it was part of Danville.

I have been inside once. It was okay. It has some SoCal feel to it but I cann remember too clearly.

I like the Summitpointe area better. I do enjoy open space.

439   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 9:45am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

The Tri-Valley area does feel very SoCal.

440   Peter P   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 10:04am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I like the Marin/Sonoma area. It has a lot of trees. I like the PNW feel.

441   DaBoss   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 10:56am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Have you looked at Sun, Oracle, Yahoo, Amazon or Cisco? When do you think they will get back to 1999 value/

Not going to happen in my life time. It will be more like Netscape After reaching peak a long steady decay.

442   astrid   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 2:20pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I don't like gum trees though. I like temperate deciduous trees.

443   apostasy   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 21, 11:41pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

@Steveoh
Afterall, the lowering of the cost of living without a drop in salary, is like getting a raise, right?

This caught my attention. What if corporate interests got wind that pushing down housing prices was a quick path to externalizing their payroll cost structure? In other words, when companies announce relocation plans, they explicitly tell cities who compete for the relocation that they are automatically out of the running if the PITI psf/month is more than $1?

When shelter costs eat up 50% or more of gross income, a company that finds comparable talent pools in an area that only needs 20-25% of gross income for shelter can save huge in payroll costs alone.

444   SP   ignore (0)   2007 Apr 22, 10:43am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Thanks everyone, for your contribution to this thread - especially those who posted your thoughts and/or data on the job market.

I expected this thread would bring up new and interesting insights, and was not disappointed at all.

Thanks again, and I will close the thread for comments now.

SP

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