Where were the job gains last month?

Santa Clara County unemployment rate was 11 percent for May.

The recent spike in unemployment has shaken up the typical unemployment trends in California, pushing up smaller, rural communities in the rankings.

Usually the lowest unemployment is in the counties of San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Marin. Last month, the lowest unemployment rate of 10 percent was in Lassen County, followed by Marin at 10.3 percent, Yolo at 10.5 percent, and Trinity at 10.7 percent.

Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, tied with Modoc County for the state’s 5th lowest unemployment rate at 11 percent unemployment for May. Modoc has a labor force of about 3,020 people compared with Santa Clara County’s labor force of 1.01 million people.

Where were the new jobs in California?

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) conducts surveys each month to find out where the jobs are and where we’re losing them. Yes, we’re still losing a lot of jobs. Unemployment last month was 16.3 percent. There were some positive glimmers, however.


edd-jobs-ca-urate-202005The state added a total of 141,600 jobs last month, mostly in construction (more than 75,000) in leisure and hospitality (close to 65,000), and in seven other sectors. It is just a small pickup from the loss of more than 2.4 million jobs in April. In May, the public sector lost biggest in the government sector—dropping an estimated 95,800 jobs.



The local jobs snapshot in Silicon Valley

These are the EDD’s estimated unemployment rates for our region.

  • Santa Clara County – 11 percent (111,500) of its labor force of 1.01 million is unemployed.
  • San Benito County – 15.5 percent (4,800) of its labor force of 31,000
  • is unemployed.
  • Santa Cruz – 14.4 percent (18,800) of its labor force of 130,300
  • is unemployed.
  • San Mateo – 11.1 percent (47,200) of its labor force of 427,400
  • is unemployed.
  • San Francisco – 12.6 percent (69,400) of its labor force of 550,900
  • is unemployed.

Drilling down in the local job numbers

Between April 2020 and May 2020, total employment in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area, which also includes San Benito County, increased by 12,500 jobs to reach 1,024,000.

  • Construction led the payroll rebound by adding 8,400 jobs, a split between specialty trade contractors (up 6,400 jobs) and building equipment contractors (up 2,000 jobs).
  • Leisure and hospitality gained 6,700 jobs. Food services and drinking places (up 5,900 jobs) accounted for most of the surge, especially in restaurants (up 5,600 jobs).
  • Other services (up 1,500 jobs) and manufacturing (up 1,300 jobs), primarily in durable goods (up 1,300 jobs), revamped work as well.
  • Meanwhile, several major industries continued to shed employment: government (down 1,900 jobs), private educational and health services (down 1,100 jobs), and information (down 1,000 jobs).

Local job numbers compared to last year

Year over year from May 2019 to May 2020, the combined employment in San Benito and Santa Clara counties dropped 126,900 jobs—mostly in leisure and hospitality, which lost an estimated 48,000 jobs.

  • Trade, transportation, and utilities lost 18,300 jobs.
  • Private educational and health services lost 12,300 jobs.
  • Retail trade was down 14,700 jobs.
  • Health care lost 6,100 jobs.
  • Private educational services lost 5,200.
  • Social assistance lost 1,000.
  • Manufacturing lost 9,800 jobs.
  • Professional and business services lost 9,400 jobs.
  • Construction lost 9,100 jobs.
  • Information lost 5,100 jobs.
  • Government lost 4,600 jobs.
  • Financial activities lost 1,200 jobs.

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