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Economist Says Bay Area Economy Improving, Thanks to Tech

Economist Jon Haveman spoke to the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce about the Bay Area economy at the Blackhawk Country Club on Friday.

Thanks in large part to a thriving technology sector, the Bay Area economy is trending in the right direction and is in a better position than the country as a whole.

That was the message from Dr. Jon Haveman, Chief Economist of the Bay Area Council Economist Institute, as he spoke at a Danville Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Blackhawk Country Club on Friday.

"It's getting better in the Bay Area than almost anywhere else in the county," Haveman said during his presentation, which was attended by about 200 chamber members.

The local economy is being boosted by the growth of the tech industry in Silicon Valley. Not only are a lot people being hired, they are also getting high paying jobs. For every high tech job created, roughly four other non-related jobs are being created, Haveman said.

"(The tech sector) can lift all boats in the Bay Area economy," Haveman said.

Though Haveman said he is optimistic on United States economy in 2013, he believes it could be derailed by poor policy decisions in Washington, D.C.

"Uncertainty causes businesses to hold back a little bit," Haveman said. "Like, the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling, Washington is causing uncertainty.

He's specifically concerned about the debt ceiling and said if it was up to him he would eliminate the ceiling.

Other factors holding back the Bay Area economy are regulations and housing. Haveman said over-regulation is making it more difficult for companies to expand and that housing is trending in the right direction, but is still significantly below its peak before the bubble burst.

The housing situation is a little bit better in the San Ramon Valley than most of the Bay Area, but prices are still down 22 percent in Alamo, 21 percent in Danville and 15 percent in San Ramon from their bubble highs.

Overall, Haveman said the San Ramon Valley economy is doing relatively well.

"The San Ramon Valley is doing better than most parts of the Bay Area," Haveman said. "It's not as good as San Jose, which is going gangbusters, but it's going well."

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