Post-COVID: The shape of the future

“The job market isn’t frozen, it’s shifting.”

The California Employment Development Department reported expectedly grim unemployment estimates for April—including year-over-year job losses in all categories except the information sector.

The bad news (we have the state recap below) is that the market is atrocious. The good news, however, is that Silicon Valley is doing better than the rest of much of the state and the country.

Last month’s numbers may cast a dark shadow on the near future, but change is afoot. We invite you to think ahead, to look into the future and consider what those changes might mean for you.

In the video link below UCSC Silicon Valley Dean P.K. Agarwal talks about The Shape of the Future in a 20-minute excerpt from a longer talk he gave earlier in the month to the UCSC alumni group Slugs & Steins.

In his forecast, Agarwal dives into the headlines and shares some ideas of what we can look forward to and how we can prepare for changes in the workplace and in our personal lives.

“The job market isn’t frozen,” he says. “It’s shifting. When these kind of things happen, you never go back to the same place. A lot of structural changes take place.”

Jobs that are suitable for remote work will be dominantly remote, which will lead to a change in commercial real estate. There will be no shortage of commercial real estate in Silicon Valley. People will start to ask new questions. What if the government and private sectors worked with large corporate campuses to convert unused work space to housing?

How do we all get ourselves job-ready?

“Don’t be caught sleeping,” Agarwal says. “This is a good time to inventory our skillsets.”


And, a recap of the unemployment numbers

Here’s the latest from the California Employment Development Department about the unemployment rate for April 2020 compared to 2019…


  • 12% v. 2.3% – San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara Area
  • 11.7% v. 2.3% – Santa Clara County
  • 16.1% v. 4.3% – California
  • 14.4 % v. 3.6% – U.S.

Santa Clara and San Benito counties were down 128,500 jobs.


Every one of California’s 11 industry sectors lost jobs in April.

  • 866,200 lost in leisure & hospitality posted the largest job loss
  • 44,500 lost in San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area (mostly related to food and drink)
  • 388,700 lost in trade, transportation, and utilities
  • 17,800 jobs lost in San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area (mostly retail)
  • 16,000 jobs lost in private educational and health services
  • 15,400 jobs lost in construction
  • 14,200 lost in professional and business services (mostly in administrative and support services & professional, scientific, and technical services)

What gained?

Year-over-year, the information sector added 3,100 jobs in the Santa Clara area since last year in April.

For more details, visit the California EDD.


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