Bay Watch – May 2024 Jobs Update

Bay Watch: A Weekly Look into the Bay Area Economy

June 26th, 2024

Job gains in May defy slow growth trends in March and April

While at the start of year job growth began to plateau and exhibit slowing growth trends, new data shows that the the 9-county Bay Area rebounded last month, gaining 7,500 new jobs, a stark contrast to the 500 jobs added in March and April combined. This surge in job creation was primarily driven by gains in the Leisure and Hospitality industry, which saw an increase of 8,200 jobs, and Government, which gained 4,400 jobs. Despite concerns about a potential economic slowdown, these figures point to a promising reversal that defies the previous losses and minimal gains that defined the first half of the year. The tech sector, largely represented by the Information industry, was the only sector to have contracted last month, losing 2,800 jobs. This is largely attributable to firms’ continued economic uncertainty, restructuring, and layoffs.

Compared to the state or nation more broadly, the region continues to lag behind in terms of overall growth, still down 1.3% compared to February 2020 employment levels. California and the U.S. have fully recovered job losses, even exceeding pre-pandemic levels. All three regions continue to exhibit positive trends.

The Education and Health sector, which includes most teachers, nurses, and other medical professionals, saw the biggest increase in employment over the last 12 months. 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 9,100 jobs over the last 12 months, however, still remains 17,400 jobs below pre-pandemic levels. The retail industry also saw positive gains in May having now gained 2,400 jobs over the past two months, but remains 27,400 below pre-pandemic levels.