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The Bay Area powered to big job gains in March, an upswing that added to mammoth employment increases in February, offering hope the region may be starting to shake off the economic malaise from a year of coronavirus-linked shutdowns.

Santa Clara County, the East Bay, and the San Francisco-San Mateo region each gained thousands of jobs, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday, an upswing that is keeping the economic recovery intact, for now.

The Bay Area gained 16,900 jobs during March, while the San Francisco-San Mateo region added 6,100 positions, Santa Clara County added 5,100 jobs, and the East Bay gained 2,400 positions.

“There is no mystery regarding the recovery,” said Michael Bernick, an employment attorney with law firm Duane Morris and a former director of the state EDD. “It is due to widespread vaccinations finally being achieved, schools finally re-opening, and the economic lockdowns finally being lifted.”

Every one of the metro areas that cover the nine counties in the Bay Area gained jobs in March, the new report shows. Santa Cruz County, located next to the Bay Area, lost 500 jobs in March.

California added 119,600 jobs in March. The statewide unemployment rate in March improved to 8.3%, a decrease from the California jobless rate of 8.5% in February, the EDD reported.