The Bay Area job market roared to life in June, reversing a recent slowdown in growth by creating nearly 17,000 new jobs.
A strong technology sector combined with robust job gains in the East Bay to produce the best one-month job growth performance since last September for the nine-county region.
"What really leaps off the page is the big gain in the East Bay," said Michael Bernick, a research fellow with the Milken Institute. "The other big factor is technology. Tech, social media companies, Internet commerce firms -- they are leading this."
The East Bay added 7,400 jobs, the South Bay gained 4,000 and the San Francisco-San Mateo-Marin metro region produced 6,100 new jobs, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from the state's Employment Development Department. Overall, the Bay Area added 16,900 payroll jobs during June.
High tech accounted for at least one-fourth of the gains, this newspaper's analysis of results supplied by Beacon Economics shows.
"We continue to see tech companies that are growing," said Mark Howard, managing director of the Berkeley office of Management Recruiters. "That kind of expansion requires additional employees."
Two categories dominated by technology employees -- professional, scientific and technical services, along with information services and products -- combined for a gain of 4,700 jobs in June. The South Bay, East Bay and San Francisco-San Mateo-Marin regions all showed gains in these
The upswing in the Bay Area was a welcome counterpoint to the sluggish employment gains of the spring. Employers added only 2,400 jobs in April and 3,800 in May, a sharp slowdown from the prior months of winter and last fall.
Some analysts feared that the suddenly sluggish job growth nationwide could produce a slowdown in the Bay Area. But the Bay Area produces what companies and other organizations want, said Jordan Levine, director of economic research with Beacon Economics.
"Nationally, you still see a lot of purchases of computer equipment, Internet products and services, software," Levine said.
Ironically, the overall feeble U.S. economy may be giving a boost to the tech industry, according to Levine. "Tech is a way for employers to maximize productivity and efficiency without hiring employees," he said.
California added 38,300 jobs last month, which means the Bay Area accounted for 44 percent of all jobs added in the state -- and 21 percent of the job gains for the entire nation.
"The Bay Area has basically helped California get its mojo back," said Steve Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.
The statewide unemployment rate improved to 10.7 percent in June, compared with 10.8 percent in May, the EDD reported.
The Bay Area jobless rate was 8.5 percent in June, down from 8.6 percent in May, the Beacon study found. The East Bay posted a 9.2 percent jobless rate in June, down from 9.3 percent the month prior; the South Bay was unchanged at 8.6 percent; the San Francisco area was at 7.1 percent, down from 7.2 percent the prior month.
Non-tech sectors also enjoyed gains. The East Bay added 1,200 construction jobs and the South Bay added 700 wholesale trade jobs and 600 retail jobs. The San Francisco metro region gained 800 hotel and restaurant jobs.
"The overall recovery has spread out from its base in technology," said Jeffrey Michael, director of the Stockton-based Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific.
Contact George Avalos at 925-977-8477. Follow him at twitter.com/george_avalos.