Silicon Valley leads the nation in July job growth

August 3, 2012 10:09:27 PM PDT
A July jobs surge across the United States and the Bay Area is leading the way. The numbers of Americans returning to work soared last month. Employers added 163,000 jobs in July, the most since February, and way more than expected. A lot of the credit goes to Silicon Valley, where hiring is higher than any other place in the country.

The Labor Department reports that Santa Clara County saw job growth of 3.8 percent in the last 12 months. To put that in perspective, job growth in the East Bay was 1.3 percent in that same timeframe.

Silicon Valley is picking up the pace and getting its mojo back. The technology sector is surging. Social media, cloud computing and mobile devices are helping to make Silicon Valley the hottest job market in the nation.

"We're an innovation economy, we're entrepreneurial, and we're technology-centric, so it's not surprising that this would only continue," said Russell Hancock, Ph.D. with the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network. "We have more strength, more breath, [and] we have more assets."

A San Jose-based company called TalentsPro matches jobseekers with employment opportunities. It has more than 112,000 jobs listed nationwide with nearly 13,000 positions in California. It's clear the fight is on for talented tech workers, especially highly educated engineers.

"Recruiters are really working hard to get the right candidate and multiple recruiters are targeting the same candidate -- it is that hard right now. So there is a bidding war kind of situation," says Gajanan Bhat, TalentsPro's chief technical officer.

Silicon Valley still has an overall 8.8 percent unemployment rate, but hiring seems to be taking place across the board. In the last year, retail jobs grew 3 percent, professional and business services saw 5 percent growth, and construction jobs in the South Bay soared a staggering 15 percent.

During the recession, unemployment in the building trades was as high as 30 percent, but several big projects are giving the industry a much needed boost, including the 49er stadium, BART extension and multiple high-rise projects.

"There's a number of things that have come together; it's kind of the perfect storm to make us hit on all cylinders," says Neil Struthers, CEO of Building Trades Council. "But I do think the economy is getting better and I think this is a clear indication of that and we're seeing it first here in Silicon Valley."

Many economists say California, and especially Silicon Valley, are on the leading edge of trends, which means that the job growth seen here could trickle out across the nation.


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