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Study Finds East Bay Economy in Despair

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 07/31/2008 - 10:00pm

Oakland, Calif. (KCBS/Oakland Tribune) -- An “hourglass” economy is how a new study is portraying the East Bay, with increasing poverty levels, low living wage jobs and high cost of living.

According to the Oakland Tribune, the study highlights trends in Alameda and Contra Costa counties where new jobs are sharply divided between low-wage, low-skill jobs and high-wage jobs with little in between. In some areas of the two counties, the unemployment rate is as high as 9 percent. Foreclosure rates are also high and affordable housing is hard to find.

Findings were released Thursday by the East Bay Community Foundation, who based their review of data from 58 other reports focused on barriers to justice and equity.

Nicole Taylor, CEO of the East Bay Community Foundation, said that this tilted economy creates a bad environment with a high crime rate.

“If we can make sure more people are in livable wage jobs crime does decrease; more people are thriving, less people are desperate. There’s a connection between the two and our goal is to work towards the long-term. The shorter-term solutions are more cops on the streets [and] different types of policing.”

A similar study was published in 2005, which found that nearly 600,000 residents were living in households earning less than the amount required to afford basic necessities.

Taylor said the foundation is now going to turn its focus to education and economic opportunity.