FOUND IN: Employment
For the second straight month, the Bay Area lost thousands of jobs in September, making it the worst month for employment locally since February 2010.
The setback for the local economy comes as the crucial holiday shopping and hiring season draws near, and contrasts with a strong hiring picture statewide.
The Bay Area’s job losses stem from two distinct phenomena: Some employers are slashing positions, and others are unable to hire. Some economists attribute this second problem to structural barriers posed by skyrocketing housing costs. The lack of affordable places for workers to live appears to have hobbled the region’s ability to fill jobs as briskly as in prior years.
Economic activity in the Twelfth District continued to expand at a moderate pace during the reporting period of mid-August through September. Overall price inflation was flat and remained low, while upward wage pressures strengthened somewhat, and labor market conditions tightened further. Sales of retail goods picked up, and growth in consumer and business services remained strong. Conditions in the manufacturing sector improved, while activity in the agriculture sector was flat. Contacts reported continued strong activity in residential real estate markets, and conditions in the commercial real estate sector remained solid. Lending activity grew at a moderate pace.
California’s public schools should be doing much more to prepare students who don’t go to college to enter the workforce, according to registered voters who responded to a Berkeley IGS/EdSource poll. But they are divided in their assessment of how well schools are doing in providing that preparation.
They also expressed strong support for community colleges and other institutions to offer more vocationally oriented apprenticeship programs that may not lead to a college degree but prepare students for specific jobs.
Employers that use apprentices like the programs because they train future workers for specific, in-demand jobs. Apprentices earn a paycheck while they train, often eliminating the need to take on debt to fund their education. Upon completion of a training program, 90% of apprentices are offered jobs and earn a starting salary of about $60,000 a year, according to the Labor Department. Yet undergraduate students at colleges outnumber apprentices in the U.S. 26 to 1.
Apprenticeships have struggled to take hold in the U.S. in part because the education system is geared more toward college preparation, than, for example, in Germany, where teens are more frequently steered toward a vocation. And American students and families are often reluctant to pursue careers in fields such as plumbing or manufacturing, even if those jobs pay good wages.
Tesla confirmed Friday afternoon that it has laid off hundreds of employees this week following reports that the company had cut somewhere between 300 and 700 jobs.
The job cuts come as the Palo Alto-based electric car company ramps up manufacturing for its moderately priced Model 3. CEO Elon Musk last week said the company was delaying the unveiling of its all-electric semi truck as Model 3 production hit assembly-line snags.
The layoffs were not part of structured reductions but as a result of company-wide annual reviews, a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement to the Silicon Valley Business Journal on Friday afternoon. As part of the review process, some workers received promotions and bonuses, she said, and the company is continuing to hire.