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Despite tech layoffs, California and Silicon Valley added jobs at end of 2022

By Levi Sumagaysay

While Golden State's unemployment rate is higher than the nation's, job growth is also outpacing the national rate

California and Silicon Valley saw net gains in jobs in December, even as tech companies based in the state announce thousands of layoffs.

Employers added 16,200 nonfarm payroll jobs in December, the state's Employment Development Department reported Friday, even as Silicon Valley companies like Intel Corp(INTC) began layoffs. The state's jobless rate stayed at 4.1%, compared with the nation's unemployment rate of 3.5%, but California's job growth of 3.6% outpaced the nation's 3% growth, the EDD said.

"California continues leading the nation's economy," said Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement Friday.

The biggest job gains in California were in the education and health services sector, with 8,200 jobs added, according to EDD data. That was followed by thousands of jobs added in each of the following sectors: construction, government, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services. Nine of 11 sectors added jobs. The sectors that saw decreases were information, which lost 6,100 jobs, and trade, transportation and utilities, which lost 11,100 jobs.

California saw the 15th consecutive month of nonfarm job gains in December, according to the EDD. But it is unclear whether the unemployment report for January will continue that streak. The tens of thousands of tech layoffs announced late last year and in the beginning of this year by large Silicon Valley companies like Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc(META), Salesforce Inc(CRM) and, most recently, Google parent company Alphabet Inc(GOOGL)(GOOGL) should begin to show up in the unemployment data for January, February and March -- though the tech companies that call California home have employees around the nation and world.

For more: The tech companies laying off thousands of workers

Silicon Valley is the epicenter of the tech industry's massive layoff announcements, but some experts are remaining somewhat hopeful despite acknowledging the "very real disruptions" for the workers who have been affected. Most of the jobs added in the state were in the nine-county Bay Area, resulting in a drop in Silicon Valley's unemployment rate month over month, to 2% from 2.3%, according to Joint Venture Silicon Valley's Institute for Regional Studies, which based its analysis on the EDD data. The total Silicon Valley labor force climbed by more than 8,500 from mid-November to mid-December, according to the institute.

"The Bay Area added 13,000 jobs," Russell Hancock, chief executive of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, an alliance of business, labor, academic and community leaders, told MarketWatch. "That far offsets the number of layoffs in the Bay Area, so our head's above water."

See: 'It was not sustainable or real' -- A historical look at tech's layoffs

Also: More than 55,000 global tech workers laid off in the first few weeks of 2023

The EDD also said in its report that the state had 70,000 more jobs in December than pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

New unemployment claims totaled 41,550 in December, down more than 6,200 from the previous month.

-Levi Sumagaysay

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

01-23-23 0821ET

Copyright (c) 2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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