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Hiring falls 25% since onset of COVID-19

hiring graphicInstitute compares Bay Area to U.S., 10 metro areas

May 11, 2020 – Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s Institute for Regional Studies today released a comparison of changes in Bay Area hiring month-over-month since February. The Institute compared the results to the United States overall and against 10 other metro areas. The analysis follows the May 7 release of national and metro-area hiring data from LinkedIn’s Economic Graph.

Key Findings:

  • Since February, Bay Area hiring activity has declined by 25% compared to 21% nationally.
  • Among the major regions included in the comparison, the most substantial hiring declines since February were in Chicago (-40%), Los Angeles (-38%), and Phoenix (-37%).
  • While all other industry segments experienced hiring declines in April, the national hiring rate for hardware and networking jobs actually increased slightly (+2%); this might be one of the reasons that the Bay Area’s decline is less pronounced than in some other regions.

The analysis shows that between February and April of 2020, the Bay Area experienced a 25.3% decline in seasonally-adjusted hiring. This compares to a 1.2% decline in the month before the widespread COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and shelter-in-place orders. “When we reported the decline in hiring rates last month, we knew it was just scratching the surface of the pandemic-impact,” said Rachel Massaro, the Institute’s Director of Research. “With the release of this new hiring data, we see that there was, in fact, a significant decline in April hiring rates locally and in regions across the country.”

Column Chart: Month-Over-Month Change in Seasonally-Adjusted Hiring

Other regions that experienced even larger hiring declines since February included Austin (-28%), Denver (-33%), Atlanta (34%), New York City (-35%), Phoenix (-37%), Los Angeles (-38%), and Chicago (-40%). The United States overall experienced a 21% decline.

In April the Bay Area had a 21.5% decline in hiring rates.

In the month of April alone, the Bay Area experienced a 21.5% decline in seasonally-adjusted hiring rates; that compares to a 24% month-over-month decline in the United States overall.

Column Chart: Change in Seasonally-Adjusted Hiring Since February

Nationally, April hiring rates varied significantly by industry, with public safety (-5%) and education jobs (-7%) doing fairly well compared to others.1 The only industry with hiring rates that increased in April was hardware and networking, up 2.3% since March.

“Nationally, hardware and networking was the only industry to ramp up hiring in April. Silicon Valley’s dense concentration of semiconductor, ISP, wireless, and networking equipment companies was likely a factor in keeping the hiring decline more muted here than elsewhere,” said Massaro.


  1. George Anders, LinkedIn Workforce Report. April's U.S. hiring plunged 23.9%, but a few vital sectors kept adding people. May 6, 2020. (

Data source:

LinkedIn Economic Graph Workforce Reports (


Data is from the LinkedIn Economic Graph Workforce Reports, and include month-over-month changes in seasonally-adjusted hiring. Data are based on LinkedIn members and therefore primarily include business professionals.

For further reference

To access Silicon Valley’s online data hub, visit

About the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies

The Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies is the research arm of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, and is housed within the organization. The Institute provides research and analysis on a host of issues facing Silicon Valley’s economy and society. For more information, visit

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