Orange County Business Journal

Small Decline on Jobless Rate

Jane Yu Friday, November 18, 2011

The unemployment rate fell slightly last month as Orange County added 14,300 nonfarm jobs across different industries compared with a month earlier.

It was the second month in a row of job gains here, following September’s pickup of 5,700 jobs. The county saw a cutback of 4,600 jobs in August.

The October total came to 20,400 more jobs compared with a year earlier, a rise of 1.5%. The county now has a total of about 1.39 million jobs.

The jobless dropped to 8.5% in October from 8.6% in September and 9.3% a year earlier, according to the state Employment Development Department.

Government posted the largest increase in jobs in October, adding 6,800 jobs, primarily from teaching returning to work after summer breaks.

Government saw 2,300 more jobs than a year earlier.

Professional and business services added 3,100 jobs last month. The increase was led by advances in administrative and support services, which added 3,000 jobs.

The month’s gains accounted for about half of the year-over-year increase of 6,300 jobs for professional and business services.

Educational and health services boosted jobs by 2,000 in October. Education services accounted for 65% of the job growth. Most of the increase came as colleges, universities and professional schools added 800 jobs from September, to 8,300.

Education and health services saw about a 3% gain compared with a year earlier.

Financial activities added 1,400 jobs, reversing a cut of 600 jobs a month earlier. The sector saw 300 fewer jobs in October compared with a year ago.

Trade, transportation and utilities continued to add jobs here for the sixth-straight month. The industry added 1,300 jobs here in October and now has 400 more jobs compared with a year earlier.

Employment in construction stayed flat after a drop of 2,200 positions in September. Construction saw 800 more jobs compared with October 2010.

Leisure and hospitality cut 500 jobs last month, marking the largest decline. The drop was mainly due to the continued cutback after the summer tourist season. The sector was flat in September.

Leisure and hospitality had the biggest yearly increase of 6,700 positions despite the monthly decline.

The statewide unemployment rate for October was 11.2%, down from 11.4% in September.

Unemployment slid to 8.5% nationally from 8.8% in September.