The Bay Area job market surged in February, adding 14,000 jobs, led by broad-based gains across the region, state labor officials reported Friday.
Santa Clara County added 4,200 jobs during the month, the East Bay gained 2,600 and the San Francisco-San Mateo-Marin metro area added 5,000, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released by the state Employment Development Department.
The 14,000 jobs marked the largest one-month gains since August, when the region added 19,000 jobs. While the tech industry did the most hiring, jobs also were added in construction, health care and hotels and restaurants.
"This recovery has legs and it has momentum," said Steve Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. "The strength of the economy stretches from Market Street in San Jose to Market Street in San Francisco."
The improvement in the nine-county region was mirrored by a gain of 58,800 jobs in California. The statewide jobless rate improved to 8 percent in February, down from 8.1 percent in January, the EDD reported.
The 8 percent jobless rate in California was the lowest it's been since September 2008.
"The jobless rate in California is improving for the right reasons," said Jordan Levine, director of economic research with Beacon Economics. The labor force is growing, more people are employed, and fewer are unemployed in California, he added.
Unemployment rates during February were unchanged in Santa Clara County at 6.2 percent and in the San Francisco metro area at 5 percent, according to seasonally adjusted figures released by Beacon. The East Bay jobless rate was 6.7 percent, down from 6.8 in January. The jobless rates so far in 2014 for the Bay Area's three major urban centers are the lowest since the latter half of 2008, according to Beacon Economics.
Steadily improving jobless rates should soon start lifting stagnant wages, said Scott Anderson, chief economist with San Francisco-based Bank of the West.
"The faster we can get the jobless rates back to normal, the chances are better that a tighter job market will reflect the higher wages," he said.
No region of the Bay Area lost jobs during February. Solano County added 1,900 jobs and Napa County gained 300, while Sonoma County was unchanged in its payroll job totals.
More gains are expected in coming months.
"Santa Clara County and the San Francisco area in particular will do very well," Levine said. "Those regions make the computers, software, services, industrial equipment that companies need when they want to expand their capacity."
The Bay Area's tech sector continued to be a primary driver of job creation, adding 3,700 jobs during February, including 1,700 in Santa Clara County, 1,200 in the San Francisco metro area and 800 in the East Bay.
The rebound, though, goes well beyond tech, according to the Beacon figures. Construction added 3,400 jobs, including 1,100 in the East Bay, 1,300 in the San Francisco area and 600 in Santa Clara County.
"This rebound is spreading and as more people get jobs, they will have income, they will shop, dine in restaurants, stay in hotels and buy more services," Levy said.
Contact George Avalos at 408-859-5167. Follow at twitter.com/georgeavalos