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Uncertainty Reigns Over Effect Of Russia-Ukraine War on Bay Area, U.S. Economy

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- If you're wondering how this conflict in Ukraine could impact the average person here in the Bay Area and in California, all you have to do is head to the gas station.

"I have no clue what's going on or what's going to happen next," said San Francisco resident Art Khatkevich.

Paying at the pump could get even more expensive, depending on the outcome of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Russia supplies about 10% of the world's oil.

"Anytime you have potential disruptions in one part of the marketplace there are price impacts that could be felt by consumers at a time when gas prices are already much too high for many California families," said Hoover Institution Fellow Lanhee Chen.

Gas price averages Thursday in the Bay Area reached an all-time high: $4.84 in Santa Clara, $4.83 in the East Bay, $4.93 in San Francisco and $4.97 in Napa.

  • Find the lowest gas prices in the Bay Area on GasBuddy.com

"I have a hybrid and thought I was fine. Now it's getting me to a situation where I have to count my gas money now," said Khatkevich.

The extent of the impact on rising inflation, supply chain issues, financial markets dropping, and jobs are unclear. In California, the latest job numbers show workers are still on the sidelines with a high number of job openings.

"In the past, other conflicts world conflicts haven't had dramatic impacts or significant impacts in the California Job market," said Michael Bernick, labor attorney at Duane Morris.

Russia Ukraine war
Tanks move across the town of Armyansk, northern Crimea. Early on February 24, President Putin announced a special military operation to be conducted by the Russian Armed Forces in response to appeals for help from the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Sergei Malgavko/TASS (Photo by Sergei MalgavkoTASS via Getty Images)

Compared to pre-pandemic levels, there are about 900,000 fewer workers now in the Golden State.

Economists say, fortunately, the U.S. and California's economies aren't heavily dependent on Ukraine and Russia.

"We don't do a lot of trade with Russia in Europe but that's not the case with Germany and other European countries. They do import a lot of Russian energy and so those economies are much more susceptible," said San Jose State University economist Matthew Holian.

"I'm thankful we at least have gas available. I'm still counting my blessings," said San Francisco resident John Griffin.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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