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Silicon Valley unemployment rate increases to 2.3%

cover imageSan Mateo County maintains lowest unemployment rate in California followed by San Francisco and Santa Clara Counties

December 19, 2022 – The unemployment rate in the Silicon Valley increased to 2.3% in November, returning to the level last recorded in August of this year. Overall employment in the region increased by nearly 9,500 workers, while the number of unemployed people increased by almost 2,800. The total labor force in Silicon Valley decreased by more than 6,800 from mid-October to mid-November, nearly identical to the region’s labor force in July. The total labor force is now 21,400 below the previous high in February 2020. The labor force now includes approximately 82,700 more individuals than the pandemic low of 1.42 million in May 2021.

Overall, employers have added almost 46,600 workers since the start of the year, and 48,600 since October 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-November was more than 135,200 lower than the peak (170,000) in April 2020. Total employment in the region is up by 210,700 since that time, which reflected the initial job losses associated with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, job growth is up +16.7% over the last 31 months. The unemployment rate in Silicon Valley in November was 0.8 percentage points lower than it was a year ago (November 2021), and 9.6 percentage points lower than April 2020.

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

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities 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. Retail Trade added 2,500 jobs as part of the larger sector from mid-October to mid-November. Educational and Health Services increased by 2,300 (+0.7%) jobs from mid-October to mid-November, with most gains in Ambulatory Health Care Services (+900, or +1.0%) and Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools (+800, or +1.8%). Government and Information jobs increased notably in the same period, with each industry adding 1,600 jobs.

“Unemployment increased from October to November in Silicon Valley, bucking a trend of decreasing unemployment across the same two months going back 11 years,” said Ryan Young, Research Manager for BW Research and an affiliated researcher at the Institute. “The increase in unemployment is partially driven by employment decline in Professional and Business Services, Construction, and Manufacturing, but it’s likely that unemployment will decrease in December, driven by seasonal employment demand for Retail Trade.”

Key findings:

  • Silicon Valley’s unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points between mid-October and mid-November. In November, the combined unemployment rate for Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties was 2.3%, compared to 2.3% for San Francisco, 2.8% for the Bay Area, 4.0% statewide, and 3.4% nationwide.
  • As of mid-November, approximately 34,700 people in Silicon Valley’s labor force remained unemployed (9,800 in San Mateo County, and 24,900 in Santa Clara County), an increase of nearly 2,800 since mid-October, and a drop of approximately 11,300 since November 2021.
  • The greater Silicon Valley employment levels between October and November (based on metro-area data, which includes San Francisco and San Benito Counties) increased most notably in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+3,500 jobs, or +1.3%), Educational and Health Services (+2,300, or +0.7%), Information (+1,600, or +0.7%), and Government (+1,600, or +0.7%). Professional and Business Services (-900, or -0.2%), Construction (-500, or -0.5%), and Manufacturing (-500, or -0.2%) all decreased total industry employment from mid-October to mid-November.
  • San Mateo maintains the lowest unemployment rate among California counties increasing from 2.0% in October to 2.2% in November. San Francisco follows, with a 2.3% unemployment rate. Santa Clara County maintains the third lowest unemployment rate among counties in California, increasing from 2.2% to 2.4% in November. Marin drops to fourth (from a tie for third) among California counties, with a 2.5% unemployment rate.


Monthly Unemployment Rate chart

Monthly Unemployment Rate chart detail

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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)


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

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 October 2022 and November 2022 are preliminary, and county-level data for November are from the California Employment Development Department December 16, 2022, release.

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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