Orange County Business Journal

OC Jobless Rate Falls to 7.8%

Jane Yu Friday, January 20, 2012

Orange County went back to hiring in December after a setback in November.

The county saw 1,300 more jobs last month, after a revised addition of 6,600 jobs in November.

The employment count totals about 1.39 million.

The unemployment rate fell to 7.8% in December, from 8.1% in November and 9% a year earlier.

Professional and business services carried the overall growth by adding 2,300 workers after shedding 1,200 jobs in November. More than 60% of the December gain was for administrative and support services.

Professional and business services saw a gain of 9,500 more jobs in December compared with a year earlier, the biggest yearly gain among all industries.

Educational and health services added 900 jobs in December, more than offsetting a drop of 600 in November. The sector finished December up 4,100 jobs compared to a year earlier.

Employment in the trade, transportation and utilities sector grew by 300 jobs additions in December. Seasonal hiring at clothing and general merchandise retailers for the holiday season contributed to the growth.

The sector has 4,300 more jobs compared with a year earlier.

Government cut 1,300 jobs in December. The sector accounted 154,400 jobs in December, about 1,100 more than a year earlier.

Construction saw a decrease of 800 jobs in December.

The sector has consistently been shedding jobs since August. It now counts 67,000 jobs here, 1,100 more than a year earlier.

The leisure and hospitality sector shed 500 jobs last month. It remained 7,400 jobs ahead of its year-earlier total.

Financial activities dropped 300 jobs last month, following a 1,000 decline in November. It saw the biggest year-over-year decline, with a loss of 2,400 jobs.

California’s overall jobless rate was 10.9%, flat from November.

Nationwide unemployment ticked up to 8.3% in December from November’s 8.2%.