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Saturday, Nov 26, 2022
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OC Unemployment Jumps to 13.8%

Orange County’s unadjusted unemployment rate soared to 13.8% in April as the coronavirus pandemic pushed losses to 222,400 jobs from March, according to the state Employment Development Department.

California’s April unemployment rate also jumped to 16.1% and the U.S.’s was 14.4%. The most recent numbers for the county, state and U.S. aren’t seasonally adjusted.

California’s employers cut a record 2.34 million nonfarm jobs as all 11 sectors declined.

“The unprecedented job losses are like nothing before seen in California history in a current data series that dates back to 1976, and are a direct result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the EDD said.

The county unemployment in March was a revised 3.7%; in April last year, it was 2.5%. Between April 2019 and April 2020, total nonfarm employment dropped by 256,900 jobs.

OC nonfarm employment in April fell to 1.41 million from 1.64 million in March; all 11 sectors declined.

The biggest local decrease was 87,500 in leisure and hospitality, followed by 32,200 in trade, transportation and utilities, and professional and business services fell by 29,200 jobs.

The EDD report confirmed surprising layoffs in the health care industry: Ambulatory health cares services declined 21%, a loss of 18,000 jobs, hospitals lost 1,300 jobs, or 3.9%, while nursing facilities declined by 800 jobs, a 9% drop.

Orange County fell from 2nd in March to the 14th in April for the lowest unemployment rate among California’s 58 counties. The state’s lowest rate was 11.1% in Marin County. Los Angeles has 20.3% unemployment while Riverside reported 15.3% and San Diego 15%. The state’s highest unemployment rate was Imperial at 28%.

The statewide decline was driven by leisure and hospitality, which lost 866,200 jobs.

The state’s other big job declines were in trade, transportation, and utilities, down 388,700, and education and health services, off 280,400.

Unemployment recipients totaled 1.89 million, up 1.46 million from March and 1.5 million from April of last year.

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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