Labor-Force Participation Hits 31-year Low
The percentage of working-age adults in the US who are employed or actively seeking work declined last month to 63.5 percent, the lowest level since September 1981. The size of the labor force also dropped by 368,000, and those two factors combined to push the unemployment rate down to 8.1 percent despite disappointingly weak job growth in August. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that nonfarm employer payrolls expanded by 96,000 jobs, about average for the last six months but only about two-thirds of what is needed just to keep up with population growth. After a strong start to 2012 (275,000 jobs added in January and 259,000 in February), the monthly average is now 139,000, down from 153,000 in 2011. Three industry sectors did the majority of job creation in August: Leisure & Hospitality (34,000), Professional & Business Services (28,000), and Healthcare (21,700). Manufacturing lost 15,000 jobs, although it has gained 613,000 over the past two years.
On the Job Front
BAY AREA – ULTA Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc plans to add 100 stores nationwide by the end of the year, including locations in Alameda, Colma, Napa and Petaluma. The Illinois company operates over 500 US shops, and has a goal of 40 stores in this region.
BERKELEY – With fewer patients and lower profits, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center is cutting about 180 jobs here, 137 in Oakland, and 55 at other East Bay locations.
FOLSOM – Clothing retailer H&M just opened in Palladio at Broadstone. Grebitus & Sons Jewelers will debut there in November, and a LensCrafters store will be seen next March.
LIVERMORE – The Paragon Outlets mall, opening Nov 8th, is expected to bring at least 2000 permanent jobs and 1500 temp/seasonal positions. The mall is fully leased with 120 high-end designer and top brand-name tenants, including Armani, Barney’s New York, Bloomingdale’s, Coach Factory, DKNY, J. Crew, Gap, Columbia Sportswear and Banana Republic. Many of the retailers will be screening applicants at a job fair October 23rd at the Livermore Community Center, 4444 East Ave, from 10am-2pm.
PALO ALTO – After winning Medicare coverage for its heart-disease diagnostic test, CardioDX Inc has lined up $58 million in funding. The company has a number of mgmt openings and could double its ten-person sales team before the end of the year. . . Field Fisher Waterhouse, a European law firm focused on intellectual property and technology, just opened its first US office here. The 150-partner practice will assist Silicon Valley firms doing business in Europe.
REDWOOD CITY – Evernote recently moved from Mountain View to a space here that’s six times larger. The maker of productivity apps expects to hire nearly 300 over the next year, including engrs, testers, designers, editors, and support people. . . With a Shell Oil contract expiring, Codexis Inc, which specializes in biofuel technologies, will lay off 133, about a third of their staff, at the end of October. Cuts include admin and R&D employees across all departments.
ROSEVILLE – One of the world’s biggest banks, Holland-based Rabobank NA is increasing its California headquarters office space here by about 50 percent.
SACRAMENTO – The Rex and Margaret Fortune School of Education just opened William Lee College Prep on Stockton Blvd, a K-4 school that will expand one grade per year to K-8. The company has permission to open one school per year over the next three years. . . About 85 employees of Wise Buys Liquidators will lose their jobs when the discount chain closes its remaining stores in Folsom, Roseville and Elk Grove by the end of October.
SAN FRANCISCO – Jos A. Bank Clothiers will open a new flagship store in the former Men’s Wearhouse location at 601 Market Street. . . Specialty grocer Whole Foods Market just opened a new supermarket on Ocean Avenue.
SAN MATEO – Marketing software firm Marketo will add about 200 new employees (doubling their current staff) by the end of the year. Positions are in engineering, sales and marketing. . . Rafter, an educational technology company, expects to add about 40 employees over the next year, mostly in engineering but also marketing, sales, customer support, IT and finance.
SAN RAFAEL – Electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors will open an 8000-sq-ft service center here this fall, its second Bay Area repair shop (with Menlo Park) and one of only a few dozen worldwide.
SUNNYVALE – Chip tech firm Rambus Inc will cut at least 60 employees from its staff of about 450 as part of a consolidation.
TURLOCK – An Olive Garden restaurant just opened here with 185 on staff.
WOODLAND – Clark Pacific, a supplier of precast concrete, is expanding its local plant by over 50 percent, and last month acquired all the assets and contracts of a similar Irwindale company. The 600-employee firm, headquartered in West Sacto, is helping build the new 49ers stadium, trucking over 2000 precast components to Santa Clara as they are produced here.