Although the data lags 6 months, the BLS County Employment and Wages report is one of my favorites because it is real, full population level data from tax records, as opposed to sample based estimates like in the monthly job reports that can be volatile and unreliable for counties and smaller geographies.
The latest release of data from March 2011 detailing tax filings from the 322 largest counties in the U.S., the release states,
Employment declined in 53 of the large counties from March 2010 toOn the other end of the spectrum, Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) has been posting double digit gains in average wages for the past year. In this report, Santa Clara had the 2nd highest wage growth of 322 counties at 12.4% (the past few reports they have been number 1, so I guess they are slacking off).
March 2011. Sacramento, Calif., had the largest over-the-year
percentage decrease in employment (-1.6 percent)... Montgomery, Ala., and
Atlantic, N.J., tied for the second largest employment decrease,
followed by San Joaquin, Calif.,
Overall, job growth in Silicon Valley has been strong but not growing anything like the income/wage data, and local unemployment is still above the national average. There is an enormous boom going on in technology and information, but so far it doesn't seem to be spilling over much into hospitality, construction, retail, and the lower paying, lower skilled service areas - even in the hottest local economy in the state.