close this bookVolume 10: No. 19
View the document1) Industry news
View the document2) Entrepreneurship
View the document3) Career topics
View the document4) Lifestyles
View the document5) Personal finance
View the document6) Investment

Silicon Valley women replied to the Business Week article about the shortage of dateable women, saying that it can be hard to find a good man if you're not willing to advertise in the newspaper, hang out in bars and nightclubs, or sign up for dating services -- especially for 30+ and 40+ women who aren't shaped like movie stars. The perfect woman-next-door may be living next door or working in the next department, but chances to meet are few. Religious groups are trying to provide channels: Congregation Kol Emeth (Palo Alto) recently hosted a Shabbat dinner for about 75 single women and 25 single men. See for their traditional matchmaking (Shadchan) service for Silicon Valley Jews. [BW, 27Mar00, p. 15.]

The median home in Silicon Valley now costs $421K, up 65% in five years. Only 29% of Valley families can afford that. Blue collar workers earning $15/hour or less are often sharing housing, several to a room. Income for the bottom fifth of households actually fell during the 1990s, due partly to the use of outsourcing, subcontracting, and temp agencies. (That gives high-tech companies maximum flexibility. Companies focus on their core competencies, outsourcing everything else.) Part-timers, temps, contract workers, and the self-employed are now 42% of the workforce (vs. 33% for the US). Retail workers make about $23K/year. Those earning something like $8/hour often end up in homeless shelters -- if they can get past the waiting lists. San Jose's soup kitchen servings are up 27% from 1998. Some 20K people had a period of homelessness last year. Such statistics are hidden by Valley averages, which show family income up 50% (not adjusted for inflation) since 1990, to $83K/year (vs. 36% for the whole US, to $47,800). Santa Clara County has at least 13 billionaires (worth $45B total), several hundred families with $25M, and 17K with liquid assets above $1M (not including their houses). Incomes for the top fifth have risen 29% since 1992, and software workers now average $96K/year. [Aaron Bernstein, BW, 27Mar00, p. 76.]

The median house price in California is now $232K, which only 32% of CA families can afford (down from 43% a year ago). In the Bay Area, only 21% can afford a $421K median home (down from 33%) -- and it's still dropping. (In 1989-90, affordability dropped to 15%.) Average salaries may be high in Santa Clara County, but only 20% can afford a $489K median home (also down from 33%). San Francisco's affordability ratio is only 13%, followed by 15% in San Mateo, Marin, and Monterey. These figures assume 20% down and a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 8.06%. To afford that, families in Santa Barbara or Alameda need to make $92K; Monterey, $112K; Contra Costa, $113K; Santa Cruz, $117K; San Francisco, $130K; Santa Clara, $135K; San Mateo, $152K; and Marin, $182K. For the Bay Area as a whole, it is $115K. However, those who do own homes are enjoying double-digit appreciation. [Sue McAllister, SJM, 08Apr00, 1C.]

New figures for Santa Clara county show that only 16% of households can now afford a median home of $540K. Only 12% of San Franciscans can afford a home in the city, vs. 28% for the full Bay Area. [SJM, 05May00.]

National Alliance for Fair Employment is a new advocacy group for adjunct professors, secretaries, and other contingency workers. It's a coalition of labor unions, activists, and advocates for minority rights. The group wants to help temp workers win health insurance, retirement benefits, equal rights, and upward mobility. [Kirstin Downey Grimsley, Washington Post. SJM, 24May00, 14C.]

----- "If work was a good thing the rich would have it all and not let you do it." -- Elmore Leonard. -----