Orange County employers added 1,300 jobs last month, according to the latest report from California's Employment Development Department. This brings the area unemployment rate to 7.8 percent, down from a revised 8.1 percent, the lowest level the area has seen since Feb. 2009. This was well below the year-ago estimate of 9.0 percent and the unadjusted state unemployment rate of 10.9 percent and national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent during the same period.
Total nonfarm employment rose during the period by 1,300 jobs, with professional and business services coming out on top, adding 2,300 jobs during the month. The educational and health services sector and “other services” both added 900 jobs during the period.
A few specialized trade industries took losses during the period, with the most declines seen in government, dropping 1,300 jobs, and construction, which lost 800 jobs. Leisure and hospitality also declined by 500 jobs in December, financial services cut 300 jobs and manufacturing shed 200 jobs.
Year-over-year declines were relatively minimal, with losses seen only in the financial activities sector (2,400 jobs lost over 12 months) and “other services” (1,600 jobs cut since December 2010).
Total nonfarm gains amounted to 24,600 jobs for the county. The industry with the highest year-over-year gain was professional and business services, with 9,500 jobs. Administrative and support services made up nearly 78 percent of the job growth in this sector, showing a large number of businesses in need of these skills.
The leisure and hospitality industry added 7,400 jobs, with 6,600 of them being in accommodation and food services, and 800 jobs in arts, entertainment and recreation. Trade, transportation and utilities also added 4,300 jobs over the year.
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