San Jose, Oakland job surges power Bay Area hiring boom
The Bay Area economy powered to a gain of more than 12,000 jobs in March, a hiring surge led by big employment upswings in the East Bay and Santa Clara County, state labor officials reported on Friday.
The East Bay added 9,900 jobs in March, Santa Clara County gained 3,000 and the San Francisco-San Mateo area added 200 positions, according to the state’s Employment Development Department. All the numbers were adjusted for seasonal variations.
The gain of 12,400 jobs in the Bay Area — the most in a month since last October — banished job losses that pummeled the nine-county region in January and February. Those setbacks had raised the specter of an economic slump in the Bay Area.
The job surge in the East Bay was the best one-month performance since the dot-com era for that region, which was devastated by the housing- and construction-related employment meltdowns unleashed by the Great Recession.
The East Bay’s March job gains were topped by an increase of 11,000 jobs during April 2000 — nearly two decades ago — this newspaper’s analysis of the EDD figures shows.
Santa Clara County’s job gains were the best for a single month since last November.
California added 19,300 jobs during March, the EDD reported. The statewide jobless rate improved to 4.9 percent from the February rate of 5 percent. The last time California’s unemployment rate was below 5 percent was in December 2006, prior to the Great Recession.
Jobless rates also improved throughout the Bay Area, or remained at near-record-low levels, according to seasonally adjusted estimates provided by Beacon Economics and UC Riverside.
The East Bay unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in March, an improvement from 4 percent in February, and it was the lowest rate for that region since a 3.8 percent rate set in April 2001. The San Francisco-San Mateo area had a 2.9 percent unemployment rate in both March and February. The last time the San Francisco area was below 3 percent unemployment was in December 1999. The Santa Clara County jobless rate was 3.5 percent in March, an improvement from the 3.6 percent rate in February. The South Bay has been below 4 percent unemployment since August 2016.