• San Francisco

Bay Area Research Rant: An Outbreak of Employment Reports

By Robert Sammons, Regional Director – Northwest U.S. Research


We’ve got job numbers on national and local levels this week. You really can’t miss all the press for the country as a whole – think it was seven notifications I received from various reporting sources at 5:30 AM this morning. I just love sifting through all that data with slightly bleary eyes. In any case, let’s get right to it.

U.S. nonfarm payroll employment continued to rise under the full month of this new administration much as it had under the past administration. The nonfarm figure was up by 235,000 for the month of February with an unemployment rate at 4.7%. Warmer weather may have been a contributing cause for the high number according to various sources. Numerous sectors recorded an increase in jobs including construction, private education, manufacturing (interesting to see if this holds) and health care (see previous editorial comment). Good news for the office sector as professional and business services continued to add on positions with that total up over the past year by 597,000.

On the downside, retail trade shed jobs (not a shocker). Hopefully you all are following Cushman & Wakefield retail research guru Garrick Brown (twitter handle @RetailWizard) for all news retail. If not, let me know and I’ll make sure you do going forward – he will blow your mind with his intimate knowledge of the industry!

You can also read much more on the national employment data either from the BLS itself or the always good information from Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, back in the San Francisco Bay Area, local jobs numbers were recently released for January along with revised historical numbers. This benchmarking happens every year at this time thus the slight delay in more recent figures. And while the various markets continued to grow, the rate has certainly slowed. We’ve put together a special employment report full of text, tables, charts and graphs depicting what’s going on with the region’s job sector. Here are some highlights:

  • Total job growth for the San Francisco metropolitan division (MD), comprised of San Francisco and San Mateo counties, was +2.4% from January 2016 to January 2017 (+25,100 positions); this is down by almost half from the previous period (January 2015 to January 2016) and the slowest “same year” growth since the +1.7% from January 2010 to January 2011.
  • The same trend held true for both the Oakland MD (Alameda and Contra Costa counties) and the San Jose MSA (Santa Clara and San Benito counties). For Oakland job growth slowed to +2.7% from +3.6% in the previous year while San Jose job growth slowed to +2.1% from +3.6% in the previous year.
  • For the Bay Area region, job growth eased to +2.3% from +3.7% in the previous period and the slowest increase since the +1.1% from January 2010 to January 2011.
  • There appear to be multiple reasons for the slowdown:
  • The entire Bay Area remains near full employment and it has become difficult to hire;
  • There has been an uptick in layoffs across several industries including tech;
  • Many tech companies based in the Bay Area continue to hire but at locations outside the region due to the constraints on the labor force, the cost of doing business and the cost of living.

I will point out one interesting BA Employment Graphexplanation (of several) as the local easing of job growth will likely soon translate to the U.S. as a whole. That factor would be that there are more jobs available in some sectors than qualified workers. Of course, that could translate to rising wages as the competition for said workers heats up.

Again, for a brief overview of these employment trends, check out our report here.



This post is guest commentary from the latest weekly edition of our Bay Area Research Rant, which you can subscribe to for free by e-mailing robert.sammons@cushwake.com.

Robert_SammonsRobert Sammons is a Research Director for Cushman & Wakefield. Based in San Francisco, Robert’s principal roles include working closely with the C&W research teams across the Northwest – including Northern California, Portland and Denver. Robert is author of numerous documents that delve into a wide variety of real estate and economic trends. He has been a quoted source for all manner of real estate and related economic information in many widely known media outlets across the country. Robert has 29 years of real estate experience as both an appraiser and researcher. He earned a BBA in Real Estate from The University of Georgia and an MS in Real Estate from Georgia State University. Robert is a member of the Urban Land Institute.

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