The Bay Area rebounds with big job gains for the month of April, despite technical losses

Auckland skyline, May 2023.

The Bay Area consolidated with a solid gain in jobs in April, a rise that topped the fourth straight month of net employment losses in the beleaguered technology sector.

An increase of 11,200 jobs overall in the nine-county region in April provided a particularly counterpoint to the alarming loss of 4,400 jobs in the region during the month of March, according to a report released Friday by the state’s Employment Development Department. California as a whole also posted strong gains.

“These are heartening numbers, and confirm that we are generally healthy,” said Russell Hancock, president of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a San Jose-based think tank. “Sure, we’ve been through a series of layoffs, but our positive growth over the same period should be read as a clear signal about our core strength.”

The tech industry, long a regional harbinger of overall employment health, is clearly in the doldrums.

Technology companies shed a net total of 1,600 jobs during the month of April, according to information extracted by Beacon Economics from EDD’s official monthly report.

Beacon’s calculations revealed that so far in 2023, the tech industry has cut a total of 16,500 jobs in the Bay Area. Tech companies cut Bay Area jobs in each of the first four months of this year.

April’s gains in the Bay Area were primarily driven by an increase of 6,400 jobs in the East Bay, along with an increase of 300 jobs in the Santa Clara County area and 1,600 jobs in the San Francisco-San Mateo metro area. All figures have been adjusted for seasonal fluctuations.

“Job growth in the Bay Area has been uneven in recent months, but job creation appears to have rebounded strongly in April,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West.

Employment trends so far in 2023 mean the Bay Area now has the most jobs ever, totaling just over 4.12 million in April. It also means the district now has 9,100 more jobs than its pre-COVID employment peak in February 2020.

The California Department of Employment Development reported that it added 67,000 jobs in April. Golden State has now added jobs over four straight months. The latest employment setback for California was the loss of 20,200 jobs in December 2022.

Despite last month’s job gains in California, the statewide unemployment rate worsened to 4.5% in April, up from 4.4% in March. The job totals and unemployment rates are derived from two different government surveys and can sometimes move in contradictory directions.

“California accounted for nearly a quarter of the jobs added in the country during the month of April,” said Taner Osman, director of research at Beacon Economics. “The state’s economy had a strong start to the year, adding jobs at a faster rate than the nation as a whole.”

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