Orange County Business Journal

OC Adds 13,500 Jobs for 7.2% Jobless Rate

Jane Yu Friday, November 16, 2012

Orange County’s jobless rate dipped to 7.2% in October from 8.5% a year earlier but was up from a revised figure for September of 7.1%, according to the state Employment Development Dept.

OC added 13,500 jobs in October in a 1.4% uptick from a year earlier to 1.4 million jobs.

The jobless rate was 9.8% in California last month and 7.5% in the U.S.

In OC, the government sector made 4,400 new hires in October, following September’s gain of 6,700 jobs. Seasonal fluctuations are typical for the sector, as summer and winter vacations at schools largely impact the overall job numbers.

There were 143,100 government jobs in October locally, about 5% fewer positions than a year earlier.

The professional and business services industry added 3,900 jobs, largely driven by gains in the employment services companies. The sector, which is the largest here, has 259,500 jobs now, 2.5% higher than a year ago.

The educational and health services sector hired 3,300 people last month. Almost three-quarters of the increase came from healthcare and social assistance jobs, which include ambulatory health care services and residential care facilities.

The sector has 163,300 jobs, slightly more than the year-ago total, and now makes up about 12% of the whole Orange County work force.

Financial services firms hired 1,600 jobs during the month, following September’s gain of 800 jobs. The sector employed 110,500 workers, 6,000 more than in October 2011. The sector showed the highest rate of growth during the past year, at 5.7%, with gains in real estate-related finance accounting for 63% of the year-over-year increase.

Construction added 1,200 workers. The sector had added 200 jobs in September and 1,900 in August. Construction is among the smaller job sectors in OC, making up about 5% of the total, but has grown at a faster clip than the county’s overall work force at 4.2%, for a total of 70,800 jobs.

Leisure and hospitality firms cut 2,300 jobs in October, as the summer tourism season wound down. About 70% of the cuts were in food services and drinking places.

The sector still has the largest year-over-year increase, with 7,700 more jobs than a year ago. It employs 182,400 individuals, 13% of OC’s total employment.

Manufacturing had 200 fewer jobs in October at 153,300. It was the third-straight month of contraction for the sector. The total number of local manufacturing jobs is off by 1.5% when compared with the total last year.