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Silicon Valley unemployment grows to 2.3%

cover imageProfessional and Business Services remain healthy

September 16, 2022 – Silicon Valley’s unemployment rate grew slightly to 2.3% in August, representing a 0.2 percentage point increase from July. Overall employment levels in the region rose by nearly 4,300 workers, as did the number of unemployed workers by almost 3,100 reaching the highest (34,400) since March (36,100), and nearly 7,700 more than the most recent low in May. The regional labor force is now 14,000 below the previous high in February 2020 and includes just over 98,600 more individuals than the pandemic low of 1.42 million in April 2021.

Overall, employers have added more than 53,600 workers since the start of the year, and nearly 94,400 since August 2021, according to analysis by Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s Institute for Regional Studies. The total number of unemployed workers in the region in mid-August was more than 135,600 lower than the peak (170,000) in April 2020. Total employment in the region is up by 217,800 since that time, which reflected the initial job losses associated with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, job growth is +17.2% over the last 28 months. The unemployment rate in Silicon Valley in July was 2.4 percentage points lower than it was a year ago (August 2021), and 9.6 percentage points lower than April 2020.

The analysis follows the September 16 release from the California Employment Development Department (EDD). National-level data for August was released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on September 2.

Leisure and Hospitality jobs represented the greatest month-over-month increase in the greater Silicon Valley region (two metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs), outpacing Educational and Health Services. Restaurants added 1,000 jobs as part of the larger sector from mid-July to mid-August. Educational and Health Services increased by 1,900 (+0.6%) jobs from mid-July to mid-August, with the majority of gains in Health Care and Social Assistance (+1,600, or +0.6%). Information was another sector with notable gains in the greater Silicon Valley region, adding 1,300 jobs.

“Despite losing 2,100 jobs from mid-July to mid-August, the Professional and Business Services industry remains healthy in Silicon Valley, adding 44,000 jobs since March 2020,” said Ryan Young, Research Manager for BW Research and an affiliated researcher at the Institute. “The recovery remains uneven, as many industries, such as Leisure and Hospitality and Trade, Transportation and Utilities, remain well underwater 28 months on.”

Key findings:

  • Silicon Valley’s unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points between July and August, following a 0.1 percentage point decrease over the prior one-month period. In August, the combined unemployment rate for Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties was 2.3%, compared to 2.3% for San Francisco, 2.7% for the Bay Area, 4.1% statewide, and 3.8% nationwide.
  • As of mid-August, approximately 34,400 people in Silicon Valley’s labor force remained unemployed (9,800 in San Mateo County, and 24,600 in Santa Clara County), an increase of over 2,000 since mid-July, and a drop of approximately 32,900 since August 2021.
  • The greater Silicon Valley employment levels between July and August (based on metro-area data, which includes San Francisco and San Benito Counties) increased most notably in Leisure and Hospitality (+2,700 jobs, or +1.2%), Educational and Health Services (+1,900, or +0.6%), Information (+1,300 jobs, or +0.6%), and Government (+1,000 jobs, or +0.5%).
  • San Mateo maintains the lowest unemployment rate among California counties although it increased from 1.9% in July to 2.1% in August. Santa Clara and San Francisco follow, each with a 2.3% unemployment rate. Marin increased from 2.1% to 2.4%, fourth place among California counties.


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Data sources:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey (CPS) and Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS); California Employment Development Department (EDD) Monthly unemployment rates are calculated using employment and labor force data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Statistics (CPS) and the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS). Rates are not seasonally adjusted. County-level and California data July 2022 and August 2022 are preliminary, and county-level data for August are from the California Employment Development Department September 16, 2022, release.


Silicon Valley includes Santa Clara & San Mateo Counties, unless otherwise noted.

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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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