Based on employment data through the second week of May, the estimated number of San Francisco residents with a paycheck has dropped by over 92,000 over the past three months to 481,500, while the labor force has shrunk by over 36,000 to 550,900, for an unemployment rate of 12.6 percent.

As a point of reference, the unemployment rate in San Francisco maxed out at around 9.4 percent at the height of the Great Recession (January 2010). That being said, there are still 44,800 more employed people in San Francisco than there were a decade ago (but 82,900 fewer than at the same time last year) and the rate of decline was nominal in May (down by 2,400).

Over in Alameda County, which includes the City of Oakland, the estimated number of employed residents actually inched up by 2,500 in May to 693,700, but that’s 121,900 fewer employed residents than at the same time last year, or just three months ago, with an unemployment rate of 13.5 percent.

And across the greater East Bay, including Solano County, the number of employed residents actually inched up by 4,300 in May to 1,325,400 but remains down by over 230,000 on a year-over-year basis (or over the past three months) for a blended unemployment rate of 13.6 percent.

Up in Marin, the number of employed residents was effectively unchanged over the past month and is now hovering at around 114,000, but that’s down by nearly 23,000 since March (and at the same time last year) with an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent. Employment in Napa ticked up by 1,100 in May to 61,800 but is down by 10,700 on a year-over-year basis with an unemployment rate of 14.3 percent. And employment in Sonoma County ticked up by 2,700 in May to 215,200 but remains down by 35,300 on a year-over-year basis with an unemployment rate of 12.8 percent.

Down in the valley, employment in San Mateo County slipped by 1,900 in May and is down by 73,000 over the past three months to 380,200 while employment in Santa Clara County effectively held at 898,600 last month, but is down by 129,500 since February, for a blended unemployment rate of 11.0 percent.

And as such, while total employment across the Bay Area – which peaked at a downwardly revised 4,113,700 this past October, which shouldn’t catch any plugged-in readers by surprise – was effectively unchanged at 3,476,600 in May (having dropped by nearly 600,000 in March and April combined), the unemployment rate dropped from 13.1 to 12.4 percent, driven by a contraction in the labor force (which dropped by 25,200 in May and is down by nearly 217,000 since March).

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    “… contraction in the labor force (which dropped by 25,200 in May…”

    So the labor force continues to drop, even as people return to work: OMG! WHERE’S THE PANIC BUTTON?!?!

    Well, perhaps, not that, exactly…but IMHO it’s ultimately more important than the (expected) decline in the unemployment rate.

    • Posted by dijonaise

      Where’s the panic button? You don’t give a fig that almost 100K people’s jobs have been eliminated? Heartless capitalista?

  2. Posted by Pablito

    Given the number of cases keeps going up in CA, pretty much in a linear fashion, you have to wonder about what the numbers in CA are going to look like in October. We have 4,000+ new cases a day now. So October – 10,000 new cases a day? At which point it doesn’t matter if the state allows businesses like restaurants and hotels to open, customers will just not want to go. Hopefully someone develops a vaccine quickly. Muni says the trains are going to start rolling again in August, but that’s hard to see unless they can reverse the trend.

  3. Posted by Adam

    “Hopefully someone develops a vaccine quickly.”

    There’s still no vaccine for HIV.

    Since 1982.

    Everyone, please just wear your masks and stay physically distanced.

    • Posted by DK

      Call me cynical but I think you can’t compare the incentives at all. Covid walloped the global economy, the payoff for whoever develops the vaccine first is immense. With 100+ teams working on it, I bet it’s not far off.

      • Posted by Adam

        DK, I wouldn’t call you cynical and I certainly hope you’re right.

        There’s always been a huge incentive to find a vaccine for HIV as well.

        In the meantime, wear a mask and stay physically distanced while out in the world.

  4. Posted by Wiseguy

    Pretty much in line with national unemployment rates…

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