Orange County

Retail leads decrease in OC employment

THE JOBLESS rate in Orange County rose from 3.5 percent in December 2016 to 3.9 percent in January 2017.

THE JOBLESS rate in Orange County rose from 3.5 percent in December 2016 to 3.9 percent in January 2017.

Unemployment took a jump in Orange County for the month of January, according to a report issued Friday by the state Employment Development Department. The jobless rate rose from 3.5 percent in December to 3.9 percent for the first month of 2017.

The county lost 28,100 jobs in January, with the biggest chunk coming in the category of trade, transportation and utilities where 8,500 jobs were lost. Of that, 7,000 were in retail trade positions as seasonal holiday workers were let go.

Declines were also reported in professional and business services (down 5,600 jobs), government (down 4,600 jobs), leisure and hospitality (down 2,900 jobs), construction and manufacturing (down 2,300 jobs), financial activities (down 2,100) and education and health services (down 400).

The rise in Orange County’s unemployment mirrored increases at the national (4.5 percent to 5.1 percent) and state levels (5 to 5.5 percent). Despite the rise in joblessness, that rate is still below that January 2016 figure of 4.1 percent for the OC.

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