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Orange County unemployment rises in June

The national rate remained steady, while O.C. added 8,700 jobs during the month

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: July 20, 2012 03:05 PM

Orange County’s unemployment rate last month bumped up from 7.5 percent to 7.9 percent in June, with the local economy adding 8,700 jobs over the prior month, according to the latest figures from the state's Employment Development Department. This compares to California’s unemployment rate at 10.7 percent and the national rate, 8.2 percent, during the same period.

Locally, the sector with the largest job growth in Orange County was, predictably, the local leisure and hospitality industry. It is typical for hotels, resorts, spas and theme parks to boost hiring during the summer months to meet an influx of visitors and tourists. In June, the local tourism, leisure and hotel industry reported an increase of 4,700 jobs, topping May’s hiring binge for the sector by 1,300 jobs.

The best news from the report comes from its construction numbers. The local construction industry added 3,400 jobs over the month, double the number from May and marking the largest number of new jobs added in that sector in a single month over the course of 2012.

In a similar seasonal trend, the joint category of education and health services posted a loss of 1,400 jobs, with the decline coming entirely from the education industry. Summer months are a period for job cuts in education

The summer trend is borne out in June’s government jobs numbers as well, which posted the biggest loss over the month. Local, state and county government jobs in Orange County were cut during the month to the tune of 2,400 positions, with the majority of those jobs coming from government education and training programs

Year-over-year numbers are well ahead of 2011 estimates for the period, with June’s 7.9 percent unemployment beating the 9.1 percent estimate of a year ago. Notable changes include the decline in jobs in the construction industry, which, despite recent improvements, are still 1,800 jobs behind June 2011. Government jobs are also behind last year’s numbers, declining by 2,600 positions. The highest year-over-year gains were seen in the professional and business services sector, which added 10,300 jobs over last year, and the leisure and hospitality industry, which is ahead of 2011 by 9,200 jobs.

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