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O.C. unemployment drops in September

Local jobless rate hits lowest point since December 2008

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: October 19, 2012 03:15 PM

The latest reports from the California Employment Development Department show that the Orange County unemployment rate has dropped to 7.1 percent in September, down from a revised 7.7 percent in August. That performance measures up to an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent for the state and 7.6 percent for the nation during the same period.

The decline in the unemployment rate is bolstered by growth in almost every job sector in Orange County in September. Two sectors that have seen several declines over the past few months have been education and government, due to the summer recess months. Both of those areas saw the largest gains in new hires in September; government added 6,700 new jobs and education and health services grew by 2,800 new jobs during the month.

The leisure and hospitality sector also grew during September, adding 1,300 new positions during the end-of-summer tourism season.

Dr. Wallace Walrod, chief economic advisor to the Orange County Business Council, said that the report did not really have any negative points for the month.

The significant declines in this month’s report are seen in the year-over-year numbers. The local government sector has shed 4,300 positions over the past 12 months, but Dr. Walrod says that may be accounted for due to long-term economic uncertainty, cutbacks and lower budgets.

Manufacturing also took a year-over-year loss, shedding 1,600 positions. “We have a lot of higher end products, computer manufacturing, advanced electronics, medical devices,” Dr. Walrod said. “I would say that that industry has to get more efficient, but that it is actually up over time, in fact.”

For year-over-year activity, the financial industry posted an increase of 5,800 jobs, while the real estate, rental and leasing sector grew by 4,500 positions. Finance and insurance added 1,300 jobs overall.

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