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Chapman: Employment moves in the right direction

State job index rises to 99.8 in third quarter.

By Kristen SchottPublished: August 04, 2010 01:15 PM

A study by Chapman University's A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research indicates that employment throughout the state is moving in the right direction – though at a slow pace. And Orange County’s employment trend will mirror the state.

"In the past when we've come out of a recession, Orange County has outperformed the state," said Chapman economist Esmael Adibi. "In this recovery, we're expected to perform the same way the state will, because of the (lagging) construction and mortgage industries."

The California Index of Leading Employment Indicator – which is based on real GDP values, real exports, the S&P 500 and construction spending – increased to 99.8 in the third quarter, up from 95.2 in the second. A reading under 100 signals job losses, and a level of 100 suggests that numbers will be relatively flat, compared to last year.

Construction spending across the state was the only component of the indicator that showed continued weakness, according to the report. Real GPD, real exports and the S&P 500 improved.

Earlier this year, research showed that year-over-year job losses outweighed growth. So the expected flat numbers indicate progress, said Chapman economist Esmael Adibi.

In the first quarter, for example, total payroll employment fell 4 percent, compared to the same time last year, he said. In the second, it fell 1.8 percent over the same time in 2009, despite month-over-month job gains.

By the third quarter, yearly job losses are expected to level off, compared to the same period in 2009. And by the fourth, the indicator is projected to hit a level above 100, signaling positive job growth and a gradual decline in the unemployment rate.

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