Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

News Release Information

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (415) 625-2270

Unemployment in the San Francisco Bay Area by County - May 2013

All Counties Posted Lower Unemployment Rates than in the Previous Year

In May, Marin County reported the lowest unemployment rate, 4.5 percent, in the San Francisco Bay Area, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Richard J. Holden, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that Solano County, at 7.6 percent, was the only county in the area with an unemployment rate higher than the U.S. average of 7.3 percent. The area’s remaining seven counties had jobless rates ranging from 4.9 percent in San Mateo County, to 6.8 percent in Alameda County. (See chart 1. The Technical Note at the end of this release contains the metropolitan area definition. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)

In May 2013, all nine counties in the area registered over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, ranging from to 2.4 percentage points in Solano and Sonoma Counties to 1.8 points in Marin and San Mateo Counties. Nationally, the unemployment rate was down 0.6 percentage points from May a year ago. (See table A).

Table A. Unemployment rates for the United States, California, and San Francisco Bay Area Counties, not seasonally adjusted
AreaUnemployment rateNet change from
May 2011May 2012May 2013May 2011 to May 2013(1)May 2012 to May 2013(1)

United States



Alameda County

Contra Costa County

Marin County

Napa County

San Francisco County

San Mateo County

Santa Clara County

Solano County


Sonoma County

(1) Data for California and San Francisco Bay Area counties are preliminary for the most recent month.

May unemployment rates have fallen in all nine San Francisco Bay Area counties from their May 2011 levels. All the declines were larger than the nationwide decrease of 1.4 percentage points. The largest decreases occurred in Solano County, down 3.7 percentage points, followed by Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties, each down 3.5 points. Marin County has had the lowest unemployment rate in May, and Solano County the highest, in each of the last three years.

Technical Note

This release presents unemployment rate data for states and counties from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, a federal-state cooperative endeavor.

Definitions. The labor force and unemployment data are based on the same concepts and definitions as those used for the official national estimates obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a sample survey of households that is conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau. The LAUS program measures employment and unemployment on a place-of-residence basis. The universe for each is the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over.  Employed persons are those who did any work at all for pay or profit in the reference week (the week including the 12th of the month) or worked 15 hours or more without pay in a family business or farm, plus those not working who had a job from which they were temporarily absent, whether or not paid, for such reasons as labor-management dispute, illness, or vacation. Unemployed persons are those who were not employed during the reference week (based on the definition above), had actively looked for a job sometime in the 4-week period ending with the reference week, and were currently available for work; persons on layoff expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed.  The labor force is the sum of employed and unemployed persons. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percent of the labor force.

Method of estimation. Estimates for the substate areas in this release are prepared through indirect estimation procedures using a building-block approach. Employment estimates, which are based largely on "place of work" estimates from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, are adjusted to refer to place of residence as used in the CPS. Unemployment estimates are aggregates of persons previously employed in industries covered by state unemployment insurance (UI) laws and entrants to the labor force data from the CPS. The substate estimates of employment and unemployment, which geographically exhaust the entire state, are adjusted proportionally to ensure that they add to the independently estimated state or balance-of-state totals. A detailed description of the estimation procedures is available from BLS upon request.

Annual revisions. Labor force and unemployment data for prior years reflect adjustments made at the end of each year, usually implemented with January estimates. The adjusted estimates reflect updated population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, any revisions in the other data sources, and model reestimation.

Area definition.  The San Francisco Bay Area includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties in California.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone:  (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, July 18, 2013