Overall long-term growth with cycles of boom and bust.
The Bay Area economy has experienced three major shocks in the 21st century – the “dot-com” technology bubble of the early 2000s, the real estate-based financial crisis of 2008, and the COVID-19 pandemic. During the “dot-com” boom between the early 90s and early 2000s, the number of jobs in the Bay Area grew by over 500k. However, between 2000 and 2010, the region lost approximately 400k jobs as the region experienced the “dot-com” crash early in the decade and the Great Recession later in the decade. The 9-year period between 2010 and 2019 immediately following the Great Recession saw immense job growth in the Bay Area, reaching a peak of over 4 million jobs in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic ended that streak and from 2019 to 2020 the region lost over 300,000 jobs, representing a roughly 8% drop. While the region added back approximately 80k jobs from 2020 to 2021, as of 2022 there are still ongoing uncertainties stemming from COVID-19 and broader macro-economic concerns.
The Bay Area added almost a million jobs during the economic expansion of the 2010s
Historical Trend for Jobs
Jobs are clustered in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
For local data at the sub-county level, the latest available data is 2018. This section will be updated as new data sources becomes available.
The location of employment clusters can have a strong effect on transportation patterns and housing costs. When divided into 20 sub-county areas, the largest job centers in the region continue to be San Francisco, North Santa Clara County and San Jose. Together, these sub-county areas totaled more than 1.6 million jobs in 2018 – nearly half of all regional employment. Along with Central and South San Mateo County, these sub-county areas have seen the most robust job growth rates from 2010 to 2018. However, booming job markets in these sub-county areas also have contributed to a growing regional housing and jobs imbalance.
While established East Bay communities have seen some job growth in recent years, it has not been to the same level as their San Francisco and Silicon Valley counterparts. East Alameda County, which experienced significant job losses during the Great Recession, has seen the most growth among East Bay sub-county areas, totaling a 26% increase from 2010 to 2018. On the other side of the hills, North Alameda County – the region’s fourth-largest job center that includes downtown Oakland and downtown Berkeley – has seen a 6% increase. The diverse geography of job growth across the Bay Area continues to transform the region’s housing and transportation patterns, with East Bay residents increasingly commuting to faster-growing job centers in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
of the job growth from 2010 to 2018 has occurred in Santa Clara and San Francisco counties
Change in Jobs for Sub-County Area
Click on a shape on the map for more information.
2005 - 2010
2010 - 2018
Since 2010, Bay Area employment has, on average, grown faster than other major metro areas.
Over the past 30 years, Austin, Phoenix and Dallas have seen the fastest job growth among major U.S. metro areas, while growth in the Bay Area has been slightly lower than average. When looking at job growth since 2010, while the Bay Area has above average growth relative to other major metro areas, a number of metro areas are growing much faster than the Bay Area.
The number of jobs in the Austin, TX metro area grew by 46% from 2010 to 2021
Metro Comparison for Percent Change in Jobs (2021)
Sources & Methodology
Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) monthly employment data represent the number of covered workers who worked during, or received pay for, the pay period that included the 12th day of the month. Covered employees in the private-sector and in the state and local government include most corporate officials, all executives, all supervisory personnel, all professionals, all clerical workers, many farmworkers, all wage earners, all piece workers and all part-time workers. Workers on paid sick leave, paid holiday, paid vacation and the like are also covered.
Besides excluding the aforementioned national security agencies, QCEW excludes proprietors, the unincorporated self-employed, unpaid family members, certain farm and domestic workers exempted from having to report employment data and railroad workers covered by the railroad unemployment insurance system. Excluded as well are workers who earned no wages during the entire applicable pay period because of work stoppages, temporary layoffs, illness or unpaid vacations.
For measuring jobs below the county level, Vital Signs assigns collections of incorporated cities and towns to sub-county areas. For example, the cities of East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Redwood City and Woodside are considered South San Mateo County. Because Bay Area counties differ in footprint, the number of cities included in a sub-county is one for San Francisco and San Jose and more than one for all other sub-counties. Estimates for sub-county areas are the sums of Census block-level estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau: LEHD data.
The following incorporated cities and towns are included in each sub-county area:
- North Alameda County: Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont
- East Alameda County: Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton
- South Alameda County: Fremont, Hayward, Newark, San Leandro, Union City
- Central Contra Costa County: Clayton, Concord, Danville, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, Walnut Creek
- East Contra Costa County: Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Pittsburg
- West Contra Costa County: El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo
- Marin County: Belvedere, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon
- Napa County: American Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena, Yountville
- San Francisco County: San Francisco
- North San Mateo County: Brisbane, Colma, Daly City, Millbrae, Pacifica, San Bruno, South San Francisco
- Central San Mateo County: Belmont, Burlingame, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, San Carlos, San Mateo
- South San Mateo County: East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Redwood City, Woodside, Atherton
- North Santa Clara County: Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale
- San Jose: San Jose
- Southwest Santa Clara County: Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga
- South Santa Clara County: Gilroy, Morgan Hill
- East Solano County: Dixon, Fairfield, Rio Vista, Suisun City, Vacaville
- South Solano County: Benicia, Vallejo
- North Sonoma County: Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Windsor
- South Sonoma County: Cotati, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Sonoma
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
U.S. Census Bureau: LODES Data
Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Program