Orange County Business Journal

Jobs, Unemployment Rate Both Fell Slightly in August

Jane Yu Friday, September 21, 2012

Orange County’s unemployment rate fell in August despite a cutback of 5,200 jobs that reflected a shrinking number of job seekers.

The local jobless rate dipped to 7.7% from 7.9% in July. The August number compares with 9% a year earlier.

The county now has 1,385,100 jobs, according to the state Employment Development Dept.

August’s decline followed a loss of 12,700 jobs in July.

The government sector showed the largest monthly decrease, shedding 5,100 jobs. About 92% of that was in local government education, attributed to the summer recess in schools.

The sector also had the largest decline from a month earlier, cutting more than 13,000 jobs. It now has 132,800 jobs, 1,900 fewer than a year ago.

The education and health services sector decreased its total work force by 2,500. It remains 700 jobs ahead of a year earlier.

Orange County had 153,800 manufacturing jobs in August, down 900 from July. The sector is down 1,500 jobs from a year ago.

Leisure and hospitality jobs fell by 600, for a total of 184,300. The sector counts 9,100 more jobs than at the same time last year. About half of the annual gains were in food services and drinking places.

The professional and business services sector had the biggest increase in jobs last month after a cutback in July. It boosted total employment by 2,100 to 256,700. It’s the largest employment sector in OC with 10,600 more workers than a year earlier.

Construction added 1,900 jobs in August. More than 80% of the gains were in specialty trade contractor jobs. The sector has 69,800 jobs overall, down 900 from a year ago.

Jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities sector grew by 600 last month. It’s been on a hiring spree, adding 500 in July and 700 in June. It has added 5,700 jobs over the past year for a total of 252,200.

California’s unemployment rate was 10.4%, down from a reading of 10.9% in July and 11.9% a year ago.

Nationally, the jobless rate was 8.2% in August, down from 8.6% in July and 9.1% last year.