Bay Watch – 2023 Year End Jobs Report

Bay Watch: A Weekly Look into the Bay Area Economy

January 31st, 2024

Region ends the year strong, adding nearly 11,000 jobs in December

The 9-county Bay Area gained nearly 20,000 jobs in the last two months of 2023 — a reversal that defied the previous four months, when the region lost over 11,000 jobs. Over the course of 2023, the region added 43,100 jobs, for a net increase of 40,000 jobs since February 2020. The East Bay subregion (which includes Alameda and Contra Costa counties) led the region’s growth with 15,700 new jobs added in 2023, followed by the South Bay with 11,500 new jobs, the North Bay with 9,900 new jobs, and San Francisco & the Peninsula with 6,000 new jobs. The region’s job creation in December accounted for nearly half of all of the jobs created in California.

While these gains could signal a bounce back, it is too soon to draw any conclusions about the pace of future job creation. Many of the recently announced layoffs across the region have yet to be reflected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ labor market data, and layoffs may continue through the end of the year as companies continue to focus on profitability by reducing headcounts.

Which industries led the region's recovery in 2023?

The education & health sector, which includes most teachers, nurses, and other medical/care professionals saw the biggest increase in employment last year. This sector has also seen the biggest increase since before the pandemic. Despite taking the biggest hit since the start of the pandemic, the leisure and hospitality industry (restaurants, bars, hotels, arts, sports) added 35,300 jobs last year, however, still remains 9,000 below pre-pandemic job levels.

Last week's Bay Watch chronicled the possible end of the SF "exodus" - marking the first time in over a decade that San Francisco saw positive net domestic migration. This population growth, paired with a low unemployment rate and evaded recession may indicate stable and steady job growth into 2024.