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California adds jobs but growth is down from January

“Even during this difficult time, however, there are many bright spots like our growing AI and climate tech industries,” said state Senator Scott Weiner. "I have no doubt tech in San Francisco will recover and come back stronger than ever.”

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — California, the world’s fourth largest economy, continues to add jobs although that growth has slowed since the last jobs report came out for January. February added 32,300 new non-agricultural jobs throughout the state across eight major industry sectors. Tech, however, continues to bleed jobs, laying off thousands.

The state has created jobs in 16 out of the last 17 months, according to Governor Gavin Newsom’s office, while unemployment inched up by a tenth of a percent to 4.3%. That’s still higher than the national rate which stands at 3.6%. California’s growth accounted for 10.4% of the nation’s overall non-farm job growth, compared with January’s dramatic 19%.

The latest report from the California Employment Development Department released Friday showed that eight of the 11 major industry sectors continued to show growth although, in several cases, it was very slow. Construction showed the most dramatic growth over the past month, shooting up from a loss of 7,300 jobs in January to a gain of more than 7,600 last month. That’s nearly 15,000 jobs.

Education and health services — the fast growing sector — grew over January, which saw an increase of 11,000 jobs, while February moved upward to 11,300. Leisure and hospitality’s growth slowed to a still respectable 11,200 new jobs compared to January’s figures, which stood at 20,800. Most notably, government positions dropped from January, when it was the fastest growing industry, reporting 46,000 new hires compared to February, which saw it drop to just 2,400.

“Overall, these numbers paint a very encouraging picture. Tourism and healthcare are major industries in San Francisco, and these strong increases in payroll show that the recent obituaries for San Francisco are premature,” said state Senator Scott Weiner, a Democrat from San Francisco.

Professional and business services, trade, transportation and utilities, and manufacturing all displayed growth, but slow growth, adding in some cases not much more than a few hundred jobs. The information sector continued its downward spiral losing another 2,900 jobs in addition to January’s dramatic drop of 5,000.

Tech giants like Twitter, Meta, and Google have all announced major layoffs over the past few months.  In mid-February, San Francisco-based communication software maker Twilio cut 1,500 jobs while DocuSign laid off another 680 people. It didn’t end there: Pico Interactive, a maker of virtual reality headsets, dropped 400 of its employees. In all, at least 30 San Francisco-based tech companies announced layoffs over the month of February.

Those losses follow a nearly two-year hiring spree during the Covid pandemic when tech companies hired thousands of people as many of them left their old jobs, looking for something more meaningful. Tech leaders “were convinced that the stay-at-home orders had accelerated the country and the world into its digital future,” reported Business Insider.

Wiener said that many in San Francisco’s tech sector are struggling.

“Even during this difficult time, however, there are many bright spots like our growing AI and climate tech industries,” he said. ”I have no doubt tech in San Francisco will recover and come back stronger than ever.”

Tech pros enjoyed heightened demand and saw big increases in their paychecks, as a result. When the economy began to slow down in 2022, so did demand for all those hires.

California’s unemployment numbers hit 840,500 in February, increasing by 26,700 over the month, but down 68,900 from the same time last year. The numbers of Californians with jobs was down 5,400 people from January, but 195,000 jobs higher than February of 2022.

On top of all the layoffs, however, California’s rural counties continue to be hit hardest by unemployment. Northern California’s Colusa County registered 18.3% unemployment — a figure which will likely change as the growing season gets under way — while down along the border with Mexico, agricultural Imperial County stood at 15.6%.

Categories:Business, Economy, Employment, Regional

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