Orange County’s unemployment rate fell to 3.1% in March from a revised 3.7% in February and below the 7% rate seen in March last year, according to the state’s Employment Development Department.
The state’s unemployment rate was 4.2%. The March U.S. unemployment rate was 3.8%.
Nonfarm OC employment gained 9,800 jobs from February to March when 1.63 million were employed. OC employment is up 91,700 jobs from the same period a year ago.
The county remains below the February 2020 pre-pandemic employment level of 1.68 million jobs.Eight of the 11 industry sectors saw job increases.
For the second straight month, leading the job increase was the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 5,200 jobs; most of the increases were in accommodation and food services, up 3,400.
Construction rose 1,600 and government was up 1,500.
Trade, transportation and utilities saw the biggest decline, off 1,200 jobs.
About 17.4 million worked in California in March, an increase of 60,200 nonfarm payroll jobs from February and up about 1.04 million jobs from a year earlier.
The state has now recovered 90% of the 2.76 million jobs lost in March and April of 2020 due to the pandemic. Four of California’s 11 sectors have now fully regained all jobs lost due to the pandemic: Education & Health Services, Professional & Business Services, Trade, Transportation, and Utilities, and Construction.
For the second month in a row statewide, all 11 industry sectors added jobs month-over-month, led once again by 14,800 with limited-service eating places as the main driver.
People receiving unemployment benefits fell 26,583 to 398,638 from 425,221 in March.