Job boom returns to Bay Area and California as hiring surges in May

The Bay Area powered to big job gains in May, a hiring surge led by the South Bay that — for now — has banished the ominous specter of a weak labor market and job losses that haunted the region earlier this year.

The nine-county region added 7,000 jobs in May, the most in a month since December 2023, when the area produced a gain of 11,200 positions, the state’s labor agency reported Friday.

The South Bay muscled up to produce a gain of 3,300 jobs, nearly half of all the hiring in the Bay Area during May, according to the state Employment Development Department.

The East Bay added 2,100 jobs while the San Francisco-San Mateo region added 1,100 positions, the EDD reported.

California added 43,700 jobs in May. California also reached a record-high number of nonfarm payroll jobs in May. For the first time, California has more than 18 million non-farm payroll jobs. Both the California and the Bay Area numbers were adjusted for seasonal volatility.

The statewide unemployment rate was 5.2% in May, an improvement from the California unemployment rate of 5.3% in April.

The improvement marked the first time in nearly two years that the statewide jobless rate decreased. In August 2022, the statewide unemployment rate reached a record-low level of 3.8%. The jobless rate has steadily worsened since then until the improvement in May.

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