Oakland skyline, May 2023.

The Bay Area powered to robust job gains in April, an upswing that transcended a fourth consecutive month of net employment losses in the beleaguered tech sector.

The gain of 11,200 jobs overall in the nine-county region in April provided an especially welcome counterpoint to the unsettling loss of 4,400 jobs in the region during March, according to a report released Friday by the state Employment Development Department. California as a whole also made strong gains.

“These are cheery numbers, and they confirm that we’re generally healthy,” said Russell Hancock, president of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a San Jose-based think tank. “Sure, we went through a rash of layoffs, but our positive growth over that same period should be read as a clear signal about our underlying strength.”

The tech industry, long a regional harbinger of overall employment health, is clearly still in the doldrums.

Tech companies shed a net total of 1,600 jobs during April, according to information that Beacon Economics derived from the official EDD monthly report.

So far in 2023, the tech industry has cut a net total of 16,500 jobs in the Bay Area, the Beacon calculations revealed. Tech companies cut Bay Area jobs in each of the first four months of this year.

The April gains in the Bay Area were led primarily by an increase of 6,400 jobs in the East Bay, along with a gain of 300 jobs in the Santa Clara County region and 1,600 jobs in the San Francisco-San Mateo metro area. All of the numbers were adjusted for seasonal volatility.

“Bay Area job growth has been uneven in recent months, but job creation appears to have rebounded solidly in April,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist with Bank of the West.

The hiring trends so far in 2023 mean that the Bay Area now has an all-time high number of jobs, totaling slightly over 4.12 million in April. That also means the region now has 9,100 jobs more than the pre-COVID employment pinnacle in February 2020.

California added 67,000 jobs in April, the state Employment Development Department reported. The Golden State has now added jobs over a stretch of four consecutive months. California’s last employment setback was a loss of 20,200 jobs in December 2022.

Despite the job gains last month in California, the statewide unemployment rate worsened to 4.5% in April, up from 4.4% in March. The job totals and the unemployment rates are derived from two different government surveys and can at times move in contrasting directions.

“California accounted for roughly one-quarter of the jobs added in the nation during April,” said Taner Osman, research manager with Beacon Economics. “The state’s economy has had a strong start to the year, adding jobs at a quicker rate than the nation as a whole.”


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