Bay Area Job Watch

October 2017

Bay Area job growth bounced back in October (+ 7,600 seasonally adjusted) but year over year job growth continues to decline. At the same time unemployment rates in October fell to the lowest levels since before 2000 while more people joined the workforce. Large tech company expansion plans continue on track with Facebook, Google and others moving ahead and plans for downtown San Jose going forward.

The Bay Area is no Longer California’s Fastest Growing Region

The Bay Area posted a 1.3% job growth rate during the past 12 months and lagged he state job growth rate for the second month in a row.


Job growth is slowing throughout the region. Year over year job growth reached a low of 48,400 in October well below the 100,000-150,000 levels of recent years.


At the same time the October data showed positive trends for labor force growth and unemployment. Unemployment rates are still falling even though rates are already low. The regional unemployment rate of 3.1% in October is the lowest since the boom. The number of unemployed residents fell from 161,700 a year ago to 131,700 last month.


Labor force growth continued last month and the region has added 19,200 workers (+0.4%) over the past 12 months. There are many reasons why job growth may have slowed so much. One is difficulty for workers to find housing. But there have also been a slew of layoffs resulting from consolidations. And retirements are surging as boomers are growing older.

But there are many indications that companies and communities are responding to growth challenges and planning for the future.

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.