Bay Area Job Watch

July 2017

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has released job and labor force estimates for June 2017. Here are the highlights:

  • Job growth in the Bay Area rebounded in June.
  • The region’s labor force fell over the past year with all job gains coming from a decline in the number of unemployed workers, already near record low levels.
  • Major companies continue to announce expansion plans, some accompanied by housing developments.

A Job Rebound Accompanied by a Shrinking Labor Force
Job growth has slowed over the past year, though June brought a strong rebound and the region again outpaces the state and nation.

Job growth is slowing throughout the region. For the past 12 months only the Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Rosa and Napa metro areas have added jobs at a faster pace than the nation. Year over year job growth reached a low of 65,000 in May before rebounding to 79,900 in June still well below the 100,000+ levels of recent years.

At the same time unemployment rates have declined sharply throughout the region to the lowest levels since the boom. The June rates are higher than normal as a result of school closings for the summer but the year over year trends show the continuing decline.

While unemployment and unemployment rates have declined, labor force growth has shrunk with 9,700 fewer workers than a year ago. This has created a very tight labor market where finding workers has become more difficult. Job growth cannot continue without positive labor force growth, which is tied to the region’s efforts to provide more housing at a range of affordability.

Job growth levels have declined sharply since last June from near 130,000 on a year over year basis to roughly half that level before rebounding a bit in June.

But this week alone has brought positive signs for the region’s future.

  • Facebook announced expansion plans in Menlo Park including plans for housing and community amenities. Adobe announced plans for expansion in San Jose. San Francisco adopted a number of pro housing initiatives and approvals. South Bay communities are pursuing mixed use projects around BART stations. The state legislature will look at several housing proposals in August.
  • Housing permits are up for the first part of the year but more are needed.

These economic updates are authored by Stephen Levy, Director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, and a member of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute board.