Santa Clara County is the nation's strongest job market, measured by the region's employment gains over the most recent 12 months, federal officials reported Wednesday.
"Tech is surging," said Jeffrey Michael, director of the Stockton-based Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific. "That surge is becoming more widespread."
During the year that ended in June, the South Bay posted a 3.8 percent increase in its job totals, the Labor Department reported.
"Jobs related to high-tech, related to business investment, are in demand," said Jordan Levine, director of economic research with Beacon Economics. "Computers, software, chips, social media, Internet, those are providing services and products that allow companies to meet increased demand without putting a lot of employees on their payrolls."
The next strongest job markets nationwide were the San Francisco-San Mateo-Marin region, which rose 3.6 percent, and the Houston-Sugarland region, which reported a 3.3 percent increase.
"The San Francisco and San Mateo areas have the same sort of tech jobs that you see in the South Bay," Levine said.
The East Bay reported a 1.3 percent increase in payroll job growth during the one-year period.
Analysts believe the South Bay not only can maintain its strength in tech, but also enjoy a broadening of its economic base.
"The gains in tech are spreading out to other industries, consumer services and other
What's more, the South Bay appears to be enjoying a new wealth effect, said Jon Haveman, chief economist with the Bay Area Council's Economic Forum.
"You have a lot of newly minted millionaires and billionaires in the South Bay," Haveman said. "They are spending money and that is helping the economy."
Over the 12 months that ended in June, construction jobs in the South Bay increased by 15 percent, retail jobs grew 3 percent, professional and business services was up 5 percent, and hotel jobs were up 4.9 percent, the state's Employment Development Department reported.
"That wealth is bleeding over into a number of other industries," Haveman said. "That construction number really jumps out at you."
Contact George Avalos at 925-977-8477. Follow him at twitter.com/george_avalos.