Although California created only half the number of jobs in September as it did in August, the economy is still running strong, with Bay Area unemployment rates once again dropping across the board.
The latest monthly report from the California Employment Development Department says that the state added 30,000 nonfarm jobs in September, while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. The U.S. unemployment rate inched up from August to finish September at 5.0 percent.
And that’s not even the best news, says a separate report from the Palo Alto-based Center For Continuing Study of the California Economy. Stephen Levy, the organization’s director, points to the number of employees that have entered or returned to the workforce — 379,500 over the past year. All major regions of the state are now above their prerecession employment levels.
The San Jose metro area has led the state for job growth over the past two years, at 7.4 percent. San Francisco grew jobs by 7.3 percent during that time period, while Oakland saw 5.8 percent growth. Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valley also posted solid job gains of 6 percent or greater.
The construction sector leads California for job growth since September 2015, with a 4.2 percent increase, followed by the professional and business services (3.7 percent), leisure and hospitality (3.6 percent), and educational and health services (3.5 percent) industries. Levy writes that the construction sector will be in particular need of skilled workers moving forward, as retiring baby boomers will need to be replaced.
Here in the Bay Area, jobless claims dipped in all nine counties on a nonseasonally adjusted basis for the second consecutive month. As in August, six local counties had the lowest unemployment rates in the state in September: San Mateo (3.1 percent); San Francisco and Marin (3.3 percent); and Napa, Santa Clara, and Sonoma (3.8 percent) counties. While those numbers are impressive, unemployment rates are still above their historic dot-com-era lows in all nine counties; in December 1999, both San Mateo and Marin counties posted jobless claims of 1.5 percent according to historical EDD data.
(Photo: Flickr/Thompson Rivers University)