At the end of March, 2015, the Unemployment Rate in Richmond hit a 14-Year low at 5.8%. The previous low was 5.0% in 2000. Richmond has a labor force of 53,100, of which 50,000 are currently employed. This compares to 5.0% for Contra Costa County, 7.1% for California and 5.6% for the United States.
Bay Area posts strong job gains during March
By George Avalos, Bay Area News Group
Posted: 04/17/15, 6:54 PM PDT |
The Bay Area added more than 13,000 jobs during March, led by an upswing in tech-oriented regions such as Santa Clara County, where a gain of 5,500 jobs put the South Bay on pace to reach a record number of jobs by year’s end.
The San Francisco-San Mateo region added 6,000 jobs and the East Bay gained 1,500 jobs in March, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released Friday by the state Employment Development Department that were analyzed by Beacon Economics. The gains in the East Bay extended an upward trend, with 14 out of the last 15 months registering job growth. That’s a major turnaround for the area, which was hit hard by the housing meltdown.
“We are seeing a rebound that is definitely tech driven,” said Tracey Grose, vice president with the Bay Area Council’s Economic Institute. “We have the most diverse tech hub in the world here in the Bay Area and it’s fun to see how it’s continuing to evolve.”
With the new jobs in March, Santa Clara County has added jobs for 54 consecutive months — the longest such streak of continuous employment gains for the region in records that go back to early 1990. The last time Santa Clara County lost jobs was in August 2010, the tail end of the Great Recession, the EDD statistics show.
The South Bay now is within 31,000 jobs of reaching its all-time highest level of employment, a pinnacle established in December 2000. At present, Santa Clara County has 1,044,900 nonfarm payroll jobs, compared with the record at the end of 2000 of 1,075,600 jobs.
“Santa Clara County was one of the first areas to recover, and the region continues to improve at a solid pace,” said Jordan Levine, director of economic research with Beacon Economics. “It’s one of the top performers in both the state and the nation.”
Despite the job gains, not everyone is landing work quickly, even in the hot tech sector.
“I graduated in August, and I’m still looking for a job,” said Isaac Nooli, a San Jose resident who wants a job in tech. “Without on-the-job experience, it’s kind of difficult to find work. It’s tougher than I thought it would be, for sure, given my skills. But I do have an interview this coming week.”
California’s jobless rate improved to a seven-year low by dropping to 6.5 percent in March, compared with 6.7 percent in February. The last time the statewide unemployment rate was lower was in March 2008, when it was 6.4 percent. California added 39,800 jobs during March, the EDD reported.
Jobless rates also improved throughout the Bay Area, according to an analysis of the EDD figures by Beacon Economics.
In March, the East Bay unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent in March compared with 5 percent in February, marking the first time that region has been below 5 percent since November 2007, a seven-year low. The Santa Clara County jobless rate was 4.2 percent in March, down from 4.4 percent in February, and the San Francisco-San Mateo jobless rate was 3.5 percent in March, down from 3.6 percent the month before.
The upswing won’t fade any time soon, said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.
“The Bay Area continues to rock,” Levy said. “This surge is going to last for quite a while.”
At the current pace of job creation, the South Bay would set a new all-time record for total jobs within five to seven months.
“There are many positive signs about what is happening in Santa Clara County,” said Jeffrey Michael, director of the Stockton-based Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific. “It’s not just the duration of the employment expansion in the South Bay, it’s also been strong growth throughout this stretch.”
What’s more, this newspaper’s analysis of the EDD figures shows that job growth in Santa Clara County during the first three months of 2015 is much stronger than what was the case during the first three months of 2014, as well as the final three months of 2014.
During this year’s January through March period, job gains in Santa Clara County averaged 5,300 a month, compared with 4,000 a month for the first three months of 2014 and 4,700 a month for the final three months of 2014.
The job growth in Santa Clara County in March was led by a gain of 3,500 high-tech jobs, as well as 900 more health care jobs, 500 more construction jobs and 400 more hotel and restaurant positions. The gains in the San Francisco-San Mateo region were fueled by 2,300 more construction jobs, 1,100 more health care jobs and 1,000 more tech jobs.
The East Bay employment expansion was powered by 1,900 more construction jobs, 700 more manufacturing jobs and 600 more health care positions. Beacon supplied the local industry figures after analyzing the EDD data.