ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — The Orange County Employment Development Department released numbers Friday, showing growth in jobs from October to November and an overall unemployment rate below the rest of the state.
The monthly EDD report shows that Orange County collected 5,600 new jobs in November, totaling about 73,000 for the year. The unemployment rate slid from 2.8% to 3% but is below the statewide figure of 4%.
“The unemployment rate is very low. It means there’s a very large amount of people receiving checks every month, so they have the ability to spend,” said Raymond Sfeir, Director of the A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research and Anderson Chair of Economic Analysis at Chapman University.
The country has endured rising inflation rates pushed higher by a disrupted supply chain and a natural gas deficit partly caused by the war between Ukraine and Russia.
But employment hasn’t suffered. Sfeir attributes that to an “unusually high savings rate” among Americans, who are making enough money to support sales and encourage enough businesses to continue hiring.
Trade, transportation and utilities were the biggest winners in the November numbers gaining 4,400 jobs. Construction dropped 1,500 positions, and manufacturing lost 500 jobs.
Among non-farm job gains, hospitality has continued to enjoy a rebound in 2022. With greater gains than any other sector, hospitality and leisure boast 24,000 this year. The EDD reported that 72% of those jobs were in accommodation and food services, two industries that were hammered by COVID-19.
Sfeir believes the job market will remain strong as federal regulation hinders the ascent of inflation.
“Our research shows we have reached a peak in inflation at 9%, and now it’s over and will go down,” he said.
As for Orange County job numbers, he thinks it’s possible they will struggle to significantly surpass the current total of 1,697,200.
“If the population is not growing, then the only way to increase employment is through labor force participation rate, and that hasn’t been increasing either,” he said.