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Orange County gained 24,000 jobs, mostly in the leisure and hospitality sector, as the unadjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.8% in February from a revised 7.3% in January, according to the state Employment Development Department. A year ago, the January unemployment rate was 2.8%.
This rate compares with California’s December unemployment of 8.4% and the U.S.’s 6.6%. The most recent numbers for the county, state and U.S. aren’t seasonally adjusted.
Orange County now has a total of 1.5 million nonfarm employees. Seven of the 11 industry sectors gained jobs.
The leisure and hospitality sector gained 8,200 jobs, with accommodation and food services responsible for nearly all the growth.
Professional and business services climbed 7,900 jobs while educational and health services increased 3,500.
The biggest decline was in financial activities, down 1,900 jobs, led by 1,000 job decrease in real estate and leasing.
The state job count rose 141,000 in February for a total of 16 million jobs. In February of 2020, 17.66 million were employed.
California has now regained 39% of the 2.71 million jobs lost during the pandemic, the EDD said on its website.
Seven of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in February.
Leisure and hospitality reported the biggest gain, 102,200, thanks to the reopening of full-service restaurants.
Government had the biggest decline, 6,000, due to a reduction in federal jobs such as census takers and postal workers.
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.