San Francisco Led California Employment Growth in 2012

The San Francisco Bay Area, a region that encompasses booming Silicon Valley, led California in job growth last year as the technology industry workforce rose.

The area, home to Internet giants including Facebook Inc. and Google Inc., gained 91,400 jobs in 2012, up 2.9 percent from a year earlier, or more than twice the nationwide increase of 1.4 percent, said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto.

“Silicon Valley companies are once again leading the nation,” San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said in a statement. He said the region was leading the state in its recovery from the longest recession since the 1930s, which ended in 2009.

Unemployment in San Francisco fell to 6.5 percent in December from 7.7 percent in the previous year, while Santa Clara County, home to San Jose, dropped to 7.5 percent from 8.6 percent, according to data released yesterday by the California Employment Development Department.

U.S. unemployment was 7.8 percent last month or slightly below its 8.1 percent average for 2012.

The jobless rate in California, the largest state by population, decreased to 9.8 percent in December from 11.2 percent in the same month the year before.

“The Bay Area is expected to lead the state in job growth in 2013, led by technology gains,” Levy said in a statement. “California is now in a solid recovery mode with some upside potential if housing construction takes off soon.”

The state, the world’s ninth-largest economy, gained 225,900 jobs in December compared with the same month the year before, the data showed.

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