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Promise and Perils of an Accelerated Economy

Bay Area Economic Profile

It has been over eight years since the onset of the Great Recession, and we are in the midst of one of the longest periods of consecutive jobs and output expansion in the history of the Bay Area. Since the middle of 2009, the region has posted consistent, strong growth in every quarter.

In contrast to its slow recovery following the dot-com crash, the Bay Area has recovered much faster than the rest of the country. The nation did not return to its pre-recession employment peak until early 2014, but the Bay Area reached its peak by the end of 2011. By the end of 2015, the region’s absolute employment level was more than 10% higher than at the height of the last economic cycle.

But there are storm clouds on the horizon. The question is not whether we will experience another recession, but how significant the economic contraction will be in the Bay Area compared with the rest of the nation and the world. Will it be as short as it was in the recovery from the Great Recession or as severe as it was in the wake of the dot-com crash?

Equity considerations must inform our outlook as well. The phenomenal regional run-up in wealth has not been shared by all, and poverty in the region has actually increased during the recovery. How can we leverage the Bay Area’s many strengths to sustain economic success across business cycles and promote more prosperity?

 

This report, the ninth in a series of Bay Area Economic Profile reports produced since 1997 by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute and McKinsey & Company, examines the region’s economy as it has emerged from the Great Recession to enter a new period of growth and innovation. As previous reports have done, it benchmarks the Bay Area’s performance against other knowledge-based economies to assess the region’s national and global competitiveness. It also examines the economic and policy challenges that continue to confront the region even in a period of extraordinary growth.

Net Domestic Migration Has Turned Positive
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Ten Bay Area Startups Are Now Valued at More Than $4 Billion, and Five Have Achieved "Decacorn" Status
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The Bay Area Continues to Dwarf Other States and Regions in Venture Capital Investment Attraction
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The Pace of Housing Construction is Increasing, but is Insufficient to Meet Demand
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California Faces a Significant Gap for Qualified Talent
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Home Prices Are Dramatically Rising Across the Bay Area
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Bay Area Jobs Recovery vs. United States
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