Bay Area powers to strong job gains in January despite tech layoffs

Downtown Oakland skyline. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

The Bay Area economy powered to robust job gains in January, an upswing led by the South Bay, the East Bay and the San Francisco-San Mateo metro region, newly released government figures show.

In addition, the Bay Area and California have now both reached crucial milestones in what has literally been a years-long quest: to fully recover from the mammoth job losses that occurred during the first two months of the government-mandated business shutdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

California and the Bay Area have managed to gain more jobs than they lost during March and April 2020, according to this news organization’s analysis of figures posted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some disappointing trends, however, emerged from the new calculations that were produced as a result of the government’s annual revision of nonfarm job totals in California, the other 49 states and hundreds of metro regions nationwide.

The major disappointment: During 2022, the job markets in the Bay Area and California were weaker and produced smaller job gains than initially calculated, this news organization’s analysis of the annual employment revisions shows.

In 2022, the Bay Area gained 127,200 jobs — but that was 23,400 fewer jobs than the original estimate of a gain of 150,600 jobs last year.

Similarly, California wound up gaining 538,600 jobs in 2022, which was 82,800 fewer jobs than the 621,400 jobs that experts had initially estimated the state gained.

The Bay Area added 23,100 jobs during January of this year, seasonally adjusted figures posted by the federal labor agency show.

The South Bay added 5,100 jobs, the East Bay gained 7,900 positions and the San Francisco-San Mateo metro region added 8,900 jobs last month. All of the numbers were adjusted for seasonal volatility.

The robust job gains show that the Bay Area and California have managed to increase nonfarm payroll employment despite the dreary drumbeat of tech and biotech layoffs.

Since mid-2022, tech and biotech companies have chopped well over 22,000 jobs in the Bay Area, according to this news organization’s analysis of WARN notices filed with the state Employment Development Department. Some of the layoffs have occurred while others are upcoming.

California, the Bay Area, Santa Clara County and the San Francisco-San Mateo region have now recovered more jobs than they lost before the onset of the business shutdowns. Of the Bay Area’s three major metro areas, only the East Bay remains in a coronavirus-linked jobs deficit.

With the latest report, the Bay Area has now gained jobs for 24 consecutive months. The last time the region lost positions was in January 2021.

Santa Clara County and the San Francisco-San Mateo metro region have also posted job gains for 24 consecutive months. The East Bay streak for job gains is far more modest since the Alameda County-Contra Costa County area lost jobs in December 2022.

California gained 96,700 jobs in January, but that came on the heels of a loss of 20,200 jobs in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.


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