What do jobs and other counties have in common? The answer: San
Benito County residents.
What do jobs and other counties have in common?

The answer: San Benito County residents.

While this may not come as a surprise, it should bring concern to local government leaders, planners and economic officials.

The percentage of people who commute out of San Benito County to their workplace on a daily basis has hit a 30-year high, according to the recent census, with 48.5 percent of the local workforce working in other counties.

This figure does not bode well for our future, on a number of fronts.

As recently as 1990, only 34.8 percent of the local workforce left the county to find work. In just 10 years, San Benito County has seen this percentage increase to nearly half the local workforce.

In 1980, only 25 percent commuted to jobs and in 1970, only 20.5 percent of the workforce left the county.

As the county moves into the future, not enough is being done to generate well-paying and attractive jobs to retain county residents.

As the county’s top planner said, San Benito County is rapidly becoming a bedroom community of Santa Clara County, where nearly 35 percent of the local workforce commutes to our northern neighbor to find the high-tech wonders of Silicon Valley and those attractive, well-paying positions.

This increasing exodus, which also includes 7 percent of the local workforce commuting to Monterey County and more than 3 percent to Santa Cruz County, simultaneously stalls our local economy.

For every dollar that is earned in San Benito County, it’s estimated that one dollar moves through the local economy about six times. However, that’s not happening.

Residents who work outside the county to earn their money are most likely spending that money outside San Benito County, closer to where they work. This equates to less residents doing business within the county and less sales tax revenue to provide needed services.

Other negative by-products of the commuter trend include an increase in traffic congestion on already-overburdened roadways, a decrease in air quality and a decrease in the quality of life because of time spent traveling to one’s livelihood.

It all adds up to having less control over our community’s future and the ability to create an economically healthy county.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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