Jobs Growth Stimulates Bay Area Economy
From Reporter and MediaNews Group reports
Solano County's job market grew by 2 percent during the past year, surpassing the statewide rate of 1.5 percent, according to a report re-leased recently by the state Employment Development Department.
While unemployment hovered at 5 percent in Solano in February, the county has added a total of 2,700 jobs since February of 2006.
Most of those local jobs came in service sector jobs, where 700 new positions were created.
Solano was not the only county in the Bay Area to show substantial job growth during the past year.
A surge in jobs in February helped propel the San Francisco metro area's continuing year-over-year job recovery.
The San Francisco metro area, which includes San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties, added 25,200 jobs, up 2.7 percent, since February 2006.
"We're continuing along a recovery path," said Ruth Kavanagh, Peninsula labor market consultant for the EDD.
The San Francisco metro area's larger-than-usual job growth between January and February - 6,300 jobs - was fueled by significant job additions in private schools and the leisure and hospitality sector, with many of those gains coming in the restaurant trade.
San Mateo County's unemployment rate slipped to 3.7 percent in February, down from 3.8 percent in January and 4.1 percent in February 2006.
That's the third-lowest jobless rate among the state's 58 counties, according to the report.
Professional and business services led the Bay Area's annual increase by tacking on 7,300 jobs. The largest increases came in computer systems design, accounting, tax preparation and bookkeeping services.
The region ranked second among the state's metro areas in annual job growth in California. The Riverside County/San Bernardino County region ranked first at 3 percent job growth.
The San Jose metro area ranked third in the state at 2.4 percent job growth. A strong turnaround in Silicon Valley technology jobs has fueled that growth. The East Bay's job growth was 1.5 percent.
"A lot of companies are feeling the crunch of the low unemployment rate, and they're turning to temporary and direct staffing services to supplement their hiring efforts," said Kerry Kiley, Bay Area operations manager of Adecco Employment Services.
The state added 230,700 jobs, up 1.5 percent, compared with February 2006, when job growth over the year rose 2.1 percent.
California added 27,600 nonfarm jobs in February over January, giving the state a total of 15,229,800 jobs, according to the state's survey of employers.
It was the ninth monthly job increase in the last 10 months, and largest since last October, when 34,000 jobs were added.
The information industry helped fuel state job growth last month with a job creation spike in the motion picture and sound recording industry.
"It was a very good month, with growth spread out among a wide variety of industries," said Howard Roth, chief economist for the California Department of Finance. "We've really had pretty solid job growth for the past three years."
The state's unemployment rate in February was 4.8 percent, unchanged from January. That marks the sixth time in the last nine months that California's jobless rate stood at 4.8 percent. The state's jobless rate was 4.9 percent in February 2006.
Roth called the current rate "full employment," a condition loosely defined as when all who are able and willing to work can find employment. But Roth stressed that some people still don't have the skills employers are seeking, or lack transportation to get to jobs or don't know about openings.
For the year, eight of 11 major industry categories experienced job increases.
That growth was led by the professional and business services category, which added 61,000 jobs, up a healthy 2.8 percent.
Roth was particularly encouraged about annual growth among Internet service and Web search companies, which saw job growth climb 7.4 percent over the year.
Construction lost 4,400 jobs over the year, less than expected, Roth noted.
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