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The East Bay labor market has continued to tighten in the early months of 2017, even as sustained wage growth has expanded the labor supply by drawing more residents into the workforce. The unemployment rate in the East Bay fell to just 4.1% in January 2017, near its post-recession low and considerably lower than the statewide rate of 5.1%. Underpinning this tightening was the addition of over 30,000 nonfarm jobs between January 2016 and January 2017, a 2.7% increase over the year. That compares to 16,803 workers entering the labor force over the same time period.
Job counts in the East Bay were once again bolstered by significant gains in the region’s local-serving industries. The Education and Health (+7,928 jobs), Government (+5,740 jobs), and Leisure and Hospitality (+4,450 jobs) sectors led the way between January 2016 and January 2017. The region’s Construction sector also continued to expand, adding 2,318 jobs. Construction employment is benefitting from an upwell of residential and commercial construction projects that can be traced back to the start of 2015, when the East Bay’s...