SAN FRANCISCO—The Bay Area’s employment rate dropped in January from 6.4 percent in December to 6.3 percent before the states stay-at-home order. The decline was due to a reduction in the local labor force versus an increase in employment. 

According to the SF Chronicle, California employers added 145,500 non-farm payroll jobs, dropping the state’s unemployment rate by almost 2 percent compared to September 2020. According to the state’s Employment Development Department, the state has regained less than half of the non-farm jobs lost during March 2020 and April 2020 due to the pandemic. 

In an interview with KRON 4, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s Public Policy Director Jay Cheng said, “the sharpest drop in employment opportunities are accommodations and food services. Over 50 percent drop in unemployment opportunities. Just for comparison in the tech industry, the employment drop has only been 11 percent. For the finance industry, there has been a drop of nearly 20 percent.”

Bay Area’s statistics

The trend was similar in eight Bay Area counties, with the unemployment rate across the East Bay dropping from 7.7 in October to 6.9 percent in November. In addition to that, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties dropped from 5.7 percent in October to 5.1 percent in November of 2020.

California’s job losses were so severe they accounted for more than one-third of the 140,000 jobs lost nationwide in December, according to analysis of state and federal reports.  In January 2021, the state Employment Development Department reported, “employers in the Bay Area shredded 14,300 jobs.” Research director with the Bay Area Council Economic Institute Patrick Kallerman stated, “This isn’t a terrifying picture yet, but it’s starting to get pretty scary.”