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Bay Area economy faring better than rest of state

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The unemployment line has been dwindling at a steady pace in the Bay Area. - AP FILE PHOTO
  • AP File Photo
  • The unemployment line has been dwindling at a steady pace in the Bay Area.

When President Barack Obama was elected in November 2008, the Great Recession was picking up speed and the national unemployment rate was at 6.5 percent. By his inauguration, it had hit 8.5 percent, then peaked in January 2010 at 10.6 percent. And it’s been a slow trudge back ever since.

But San Francisco weathered the crisis better than most cities. Recent data show this upward trend continuing for the Bay Area. But the Bay Area’s success has only underscored California’s economic stratification.

In February, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties were the only ones in the state with unemployment rates below 6.5 percent, according to state Employment Development Department data. Meanwhile, 34 of the state’s 58 counties had rates above 10.6 percent.

The economy is certainly improving all around. In February 2012, the country had a nonadjusted unemployment rate of 8.7 percent; this year, it was 8.1 percent. The improvement has been more dramatic in California: from 11.3 percent to 9.7 percent.

Of the 22 counties below that state average, eight are in the Bay Area.

More than three-quarters of state counties had unemployment rates worse than the national average.

albert.samaha@sfweekly.com