Located in California on east shore of the San Francisco Bay in northern Alameda County is the municipality of Berkeley The city is neighboured by the cities of Oakland and Emeryville to the south, Albany and Kensington to the north, and ends at the county line (bordering Contra Costa County) to the east.
Berkeley is the home of the oldest University of California campus as well as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The Gradual Theological Union also is located here. The city is considered one of most politically liberal in California and was ranked the third most liberal city in the United States in a recent study.
The economy in Berkeley is very diverse, ranging from commercial and manufacturing to institutional businesses. The city achieved its lowest unemployment rate in 1999 with 2.3%. However, some ethnic groups do not benefit from the 70,000 jobs offered by the businesses: In 1990, the unemployment rate for African- American women was 12% and the rate for African- American males was over 18%. The average overall rate for the city at that time was 5.6%. This group also makes less per capita income. In 1990, it was 59% of the citywide average, a meagre $11,134.
The variety of businesses located in West Berkeley create an approximate taxable sale revenue of $1.2 billion. Berkeley is known as fantastic place for small, independent businesses to locate. The city is filled with educated individuals with unique entrepreneurial ideas which benefit many of the local businesses that have developed here. Most commercial buildings are of a moderate size, which is probably due to the 90% of all employers in the area which have fewer then 20 employees. Economic stability is also obtained in Berkeley with The University of California and other state-supported educational and research facilities.
The mid- and late- ‘90s, a time of economic prosperity, brought benefits as well as difficulties. The economic, cultural, and social diversity of the city has been harshly challenged with the property values/rents constantly increasing. The more artistic and crafty individuals are finding it increasingly difficult to live with monetary pressures mounting. Retail and office spaces are become more common as higher office rents create pressure on companies to downsize from their well-paying industrial jobs to smaller office spaces. In West Berkeley, where the industrial sector thrives, constant supervision is required to maintain a balance between manufacturing, retail, and office uses.
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