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Saturday, Nov 26, 2022

OC May Unemployment Rises to 14.5%

Orange County’s unadjusted unemployment rate rose to 14.5% in May from a revised 13.8% in April as the coronavirus continued to have an effect, according to the state Employment Development Department. A year ago, the unemployment rate was 2.4%.

California’s May unemployment rate fell to 15.9% from 16.1% and the U.S.’s was 13%. The most recent numbers for the county, state and U.S. aren’t seasonally adjusted.

Even though the unemployment rate rose, the county still added 13,900 jobs. An EDD spokeswoman said the two data points are not comparable because the unemployment rate counts people who live in Orange County while the industry employment numbers count the number of jobs in Orange County regardless of where those people live.

OC nonfarm employment in May rose to 1.42 million from 1.41 million in April.

The biggest increase was 6,400 jobs in educational and health services. All of this increase was in healthcare and social assistance, which rose 7,000 as health workers began to return to work.

The construction sector grew by 5,800 jobs, led by specialty trade contractors. Leisure and hospitality also began rebounding by adding 4,000 jobs.

The largest decrease occurred in government, which was down 4,300 jobs.

Orange County fell to 32nd in June for the lowest unemployment rate among California’s 58 counties; it had ranked 2nd in March and 14th in April. The state’s lowest rate was 10% in Lassen County followed by 10.3% in Marin County. Los Angeles rose to 20.6% from 20.3% unemployment while Riverside also climbed to 15.8% from 15.3% and San Diego’s was flat at 15%.

The state added 141,600 non-farm jobs in May, rebounding from a record 2.42 million loss in April, which was driven by leisure and hospitality. From May of 2019, the number of jobs decreased by 2.27 million.

Nine of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in May. Construction posted the largest job gain, up 75,000 thanks to strength in specialty trade contractors and ongoing construction projects.

Leisure and hospitality, up 64,800, had the second-largest job gain due to growth in accommodation and food services.

Government, down 95,800, had the largest drop with state and local government jobs both experiencing large decreases over the month.

There were 2.15 million workers certifying for Unemployment Insurance benefits in May, compared to 1.89 million in April and 321,372 people in May 2019. Concurrently, 203,588 initial claims were processed in May, a decrease of 121,928 claims from April, but a year-over increase of 165,192 claims from May 2019.

Go here for more updates on how OC companies are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

For ongoing, in-depth coverage of COVID-19’s effects on OC businesses, see the Monday print edition of the Business Journal.

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Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan has been a journalist for 40 years. He spent a decade in Latin America covering wars, narcotic traffickers, earthquakes, and business. His resume includes 15 years at Bloomberg News where his headlines and articles sometimes moved the market caps of companies he covered by hundreds of millions of dollars. His articles have been published worldwide, including the New York Times and the Washington Post; he's appeared on CNN, CBC, BBC, and Bloomberg TV. He was awarded a Kiplinger Fellowship at The Ohio State University.

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