This article was originally published on the Orange County Register Site and was written by Mary Ann Milbourn.
Orange County’s economy appears to be on the mend with local employers adding 4,600 jobs in September, the third straight month of employment growth, state employment officials reported today. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6%.
Statewide, the picture wasn’t as bright. California lost 63,500 jobs from August to September although August’s numbers were revised to show a 10,700 job gain.
The state’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 12.4% in September, third highest in the country after Nevada’s 14.4% and Michigan’s 13%. The U.S. unemployment rate in September was unchanged at 9.6%.
Esmael Adibi, a Chapman University economist, was especially encouraged that so many of Orange County’s sectors are beginning to show strength.
“There are really quite a few bright spots in this report,” Adibi said.
He cited professional and business services — accountants, lawyers, managers and temp workers.
“They’ve added nearly 11,000 jobs in the last year,” he said. “That’s extremely important because of the size of that sector with 244,000 people.”
Leisure and hospitality dipped in September as the summer tourist season wound down, but it showed solid year-over- year growth, with employers bringing on 7,800 new workers.
Construction remained weak. The sector has lost 6,900 jobs in the last year, mostly among specialty trade contractors.
State and local government employment increased by 5,400 from August to September, reflecting teachers coming back to school. With budget cuts, however, local government employment is down by 4,700 positions in the last year.
Adibi said the good news is that the private sector is hiring again, not in huge numbers, but consistently increasing each month.
Kiro Bruno, president of Fortis Resource Partners, a staffing company in Irvine, said she’s seeing pockets of hiring strength in Orange County in pharma, medical devices and manufacturing, particularly high-tech manufacturing.
“In September and October, we’ve seen a surge in hiring,” said Bruno, whose company specializes in finance and accounting placements at small- and mid-sized companies in Orange County.
Bruno said there is strength in both temporary hires and direct hires.
“Temporary help has always been a category that improved at the beginning of an expansion,” Bruno said. “So seeing growth there is extremely positive.”
Temp work has expanded by 3,000 jobs in the last year, according to the EDD.
Despite the pickup in orders, Bruno said she’s not seeing any clear trend.
“Companies are being very strategic in their hiring, replacing or adding positions based on specific internal needs,” she said.
Orange County continues to lead the Southern California region in its recovery. Here are the September unemployment rates in the other counties:
- Los Angeles:12.5%
- Riverside: 15.3%
- San Bernardino: 14.2%
- San Diego: 9.7%
- Ventura: 11.1%