Orange County Business Journal

OC Adds 8,700 Jobs in June

Jane Yu Friday, July 20, 2012

Orange County added 8,700 jobs in June, notching a fifth-straight month of gains.

The unemployment rate rose from the 7.5% a month earlier, likely due to additions to the labor pool, but was down from 9.1% a year earlier.

Orange County now has 1,401,300 jobs, according to the state Employment Development Department. That’s 31,500 more jobs than a year ago.

The sector with the largest growth was leisure and hospitality, which added 4,700 jobs last month. It also led job gains in May.

About 60% of the June increase was in accommodation and food services, in line with the summer tourism season. Leisure and hospitality companies have hired 9,200 workers over the past year, and now account for 185,000 jobs.

Construction reported adding 3,400 new jobs in June, with specialty trade contractors accounting for about 70% of the growth. It has 68,200 jobs, about 3% lower than its total from last June.

Financial activities added 2,200 jobs in June after a small decline in May. The sector has 106,000 employees now, up by 2,300 from a year-ago snapshot.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector hired 700 employees in June. It’s the second-largest sector in Orange County, with 251,400 jobs. It has boosted employment by 7,200 jobs over the past year.

Manufacturing added 300 workers last month, after three consecutive months of cutting jobs.

The sector makes up about 11% of the county’s employment with 155,100 jobs, up 1,700 from a year ago.

Professional and business services cut 500 jobs last month. The sector had the largest year-over-year growth with 10,300 new jobs. It’s the largest industry here, making up slightly more than 18% of Orange County’s entire work force.

Educational and health services saw a decline of 1,400 workers last month, for a total of 160,100 jobs. It still has 2,400 more jobs than it did a year earlier.

Government had the largest monthly decrease in job numbers. It lost 2,400 jobs in June, with losses primarily concentrated in local government educational services. Summer recess in classes played a part in the overall decline. The sector lost 2,600 jobs over the past year.

The statewide rate for unemployment was 10.7% in June, up from 10.4% in May and down from 12% last June.

The rate was 8.4% for the U.S., up from 7.9% in May and down from a year-earlier reading of 9.3%.