San Jose area, Oakland area job markets wobble, sparking economic uncertainty

[Source: East Bay Times] The job markets in Santa Clara County and the East Bay slumped to start out the year, according to a state labor report released Friday that indicated some cracks have materialized in the region’s employment sector.

Santa Clara County lost 3,500 jobs while the Alameda County-Contra Costa County area lost 900 jobs in January compared to December, seasonally adjusted figures from the Employment Development Department show. The San Francisco-San Mateo region managed a gain of only a paltry 400 jobs.

Even worse, it turns out the Santa Clara County job market was somewhat weaker during 2016 than economists had initially estimated. The South Bay added 31,100 jobs — 6,000 fewer than the original calculation of a gain of 37,100 more positions.

On a brighter note, the job markets in both the East Bay and the San Francisco-San Mateo region were stronger in 2016 than initially thought. Last year, the East Bay gained 34,300 jobs, 4,700 more that the first estimates, while the San Francisco metro region added 34,400 jobs, which was 12,100 more than the initial guesses by EDD economists.

Similarly, California’s statewide economy was more robust than first thought. The Golden State added 356,100 jobs during 2016, which topped the initial estimates by 23,600, according to this newspaper’s analysis of the EDD figures. The changes in the job totals resulted from an annual revision by the EDD of its original reports about the job market during 2016 and prior years.

The California jobless rate during January improved to 5.1 percent — the best level in 10 years — compared with 5.2 percent in December, the EDD reported. The last time the statewide unemployment rate was this low was in April 2007, prior to the Great Recession. However, California added a scant 9,700 jobs during January.

For Santa Clara County, the biggest hits to the job market during January came in the construction, educational services, and technology industries, according to a Beacon Economics analysis of the EDD figures. All of the Beacon estimates were adjusted for seasonal changes.

In January, Santa Clara County lost 1,200 jobs in educational services, 1,100 jobs in construction, 1,000 in technology and 700 in retail. Hotels and restaurants were among the few strong spots in the South Bay, adding 300 jobs.

The East Bay lost 3,100 retail jobs, 1,200 administrative support jobs and 600 transportation and wholesale jobs, the Beacon analysis showed. Hotels and restaurants were particularly strong in the East Bay, adding 1,300 jobs in January. Tech companies gained 300 jobs.

The San Francisco-San Mateo region also suffered big losses in technology. The tech sector shed 1,000 jobs in January in the San Francisco metro area, while hotels and restaurants chopped 1,000 jobs. Educational services companies added 1,000 jobs while the health care sector added 800, according to Beacon’s analysis.

Source: East Bay Times
March 3, 2017