Bay Area lost 4,700 jobs, East Bay gained 800 in August

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Cherry Wu/Staff

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The Bay Area lost 4,700 jobs in the month of August, facing its worst monthly loss in the last seven years, while the East Bay gained 800 jobs, according to the California Employment Development Department.

The Bay Area’s job losses are broadly felt, said Larry Rosenthal, senior lecturer at the Goldman School of Public Policy. He added that the employment areas that have been affected the most are healthcare, technology and retail.

The East Bay has advantages over the rest of the Bay Area, Rosenthal said, because it has a lower cost of living, so companies are able to offer tech workers lower salaries. The cost of living in the Bay Area as a whole makes employee recruitment more difficult, according to campus city and regional planning lecturer Jason Luger.

“Service and manual labor jobs are always in demand — construction, food services, cleaning, security, babysitting and even tutoring,” Luger said in an email. “But these jobs do not pay enough to make it easy to live in the Bay Area.”

Luger said that companies such as Google are moving jobs out of the Bay Area in order to increase employment in a more affordable location. This results in the loss of mid-level technology jobs.

Luger added that executive and high-paying jobs are secure because their work is difficult to replace and their salaries make it possible for them to live in the area.

“Imagine the circumstance of an individual or family looking for work in the Bay Area and considering moving here,” Rosenthal said. “One of the things they weigh is the cost of living and housing.”

Some think that this month’s trend isn’t enough to indicate a long term increase of unemployment. Sylvia Allegretto of the UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment said unemployment has decreased significantly since 2010.

She added that the housing market has expanded as new workers join the area’s “strong” job market.

“The trend in the Bay Area is one where you’re seeing increases in employment. What that has led to is a more tight housing market both in the sales side and renting side,” said Ed Cabrera, regional spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Despite the varying opinions on the significance of this month’s job losses, Rosenthal said it is the important to keep track of employment shifts.

“If you’re going to have an economic slowdown to a recession, it has to start somewhere,” said Rosenthal. “Having your eyes on these markets is really important to see these shifts.”

Contact Gioia von Staden at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @GioiaVon.