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Job growth solid in LA and Inland Empire, tepid in Orange County – Orange County Register

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Southern California’s job market appears poised to the end the year the way it started: with solid growth in most, but not all three, of its major metropolitan areas.

There were 128,800 more jobs in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties in November than there were 12 months ago, the state’s Employment Development Department reported Friday. The growth continues to be centered in the Inland Empire and Los Angeles County, with Orange County still showing tepid numbers.

Economist Robert Kleinhenz said the state’s job market perked up earlier this year and has not waned.

“These numbers show that the trend is continuing,” Kleinhenz said. “And, we’re not just getting contributions from one or two industries. It’s a little remarkable that, so far into this expansion, we still have this much growth.”

There were 81,600 jobs in Los Angeles County last month that were not there 12 months earlier, an increase of 1.8%. Most of the growth was in jobs involving health care, education and social assistance.

The Inland Empire again added jobs at the fastest clip of the region’s three metros, with 33,100 new jobs representing a 2.1% increase. Social assistance jobs such as health care and education were strong areas there as well.

Orange County continues to lag its neighbors’ job growth. The year-over-year increase was only 0.8%, with 14,000 new jobs since last November.

California overall added about 321,000 jobs since last November, with only Texas reporting a larger gain.

Unemployment in California remained at 3.9% in November, matching the record low set a month ago.

The jobless rate was unchanged in both Orange and Los Angeles counties. Orange County remained at 2.5%, and Los Angeles County held steady at 4.4%. Unemployment in the Inland counties was 3.6% last month, down from 3.7% in October.

The report reflects shifting shopping patterns. November is typically when stores add holiday help to their payrolls. And while Southern California retailers added almost 35,000 employees last month, the growth flattens when compared with the previous November.

Los Angeles and the Inland counties’ retail hires were basically unchanged from 2018, and Orange County’s job count declined by 1,000 workers, suggesting shoppers need less help at brick-and-mortar stores. Many shoppers can now order and pay for items online and pick them up at the store in three minutes.

The transportation and warehousing sector, which moves goods to stores and directly to consumers’ front doors, had almost 13.000 more jobs last month than in November 2018. Many warehouses hired seasonal help for those jobs, with almost all that activity in San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties.

Manfred Keil, a professor of economics at Claremont McKenna College and the chief economist for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, said many of the newly added jobs, including in the health care field and some education jobs, do not pay well. Another example is the leisure and hospitality sector, which is responsible for about half of Orange County’s net job gain.

“The job growth is impressive, but unfortunately these are not sectors that are high-wage,” Keil said. “We are monitoring some of the professional job positions, those are jobs that make places like the Inland Empire different from other parts of California.”

Here are some of the sectors that have expanded in the last year, and some of those that have weakened:

In Los Angeles County: Increases were in construction (4.8%), education and health services (4.3%), transportation and warehousing (3.1%), ambulatory health care (3.2%), manufacturing (2.9%) and leisure and hospitality (2.6%).

Declines were seen in telecommunications (-5.7%), accounting and bookkeeping (-2.9%), local government education, and repair and maintenance work (both -1.9%).

In Orange County, along with the 3.2% increase in the leisure and hospitality field, the strong gains were in: financial activities (2.7%), construction (2.2%), county government (1.6%) and administrative and support services (1.3%).

Declines were in legal services (-3%), ambulatory health care (-2.2)%, state government (-1.8%) and retail trade (-0.6%).

In the Inland Empire, the strengths were:  ambulatory health services (6.4%), administrative and support services (5%), transportation and warehousing (4.4%) professional and business services (4.2) and financial activities (1.4%).

Declines were reported in construction (-4%), repair and maintenance work (-3%), accommodations (-1.6%) and real estate rental and leasing (-1%).


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Jeff Stearman

Jeff has experienced much success in his many years as a Realtor, consistently ranking in the Top 1% of Realtors nationally as well as the Top Agent locally. Jeff also has an MBA and Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) designation and is Certified Short Sale Specialist and Distressed Property Negotiator and Expert. Jeff has a firm grasp on today’s real estate market and is an expert in all areas of residential real estate, including: traditional sales, residential income properties, vacation properties, luxury homes, as well as distressed properties. Additionally, with his background in mortgage & financial consulting, Jeff can help you understand the numbers side of real estate and offer valuable advice on the different types of home loans and financing options that you could take advantage of. His clients say: "If you want something done, ask a busy Realtor.” The Stearman Group has successfully sold over 3,000 homes because they carefully work with their clients to create successful solutions. They strive to solve your individual housing needs-one client at a time. His team gives only the Best Personalized Service to each of their clients every single time.

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