Analyst: Local hiring spree to boost housing


May 4th 2012

Veteran Southern California real estate analyst G.U. Krueger adds his commentary on the housing market to this blog in a spot we call “Thursday Morning Quarterback.” Here’s his latest installment. …

Decent job growth numbers are good news for the Orange County housing industry, which is desperately seeking better economic fundamentals.

At first, it looked as if California’s labor markets had a slow beginning in 2012. However, revisions of official payroll numbers in January and February — plus nice job growth during March — changed that picture. Job growth in Orange County in March outpaced the nation and California on a monthly and annual basis.

Here are some factoids:

• On a seasonally adjusted basis Orange County nonfarm jobs grew 0.6 percent from February to March this year. That was faster monthly growth than the 0.1 percent in California and the 0.09 percent in the Nation during the same time period.

• Between in the year ended in March, Orange County nonfarm jobs grew 1.9 percent (and 2.3 percent in the private sector). In California jobs grew 1.6 percent, while the U.S. added 1.5 percent.

• Compared with major California metropolitan areas, Orange County outgrew the so-called northern growth stars in California on a monthly basis — the Silicon Valley (0.2 percent), San Francisco (0.4 percent), and Oakland (0.2 percent). Orange County also enjoyed the biggest monthly gain in absolute numbers with 7,800 new jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis.

• While year-over-year, Orange County job growth was outpaced in percentage terms by San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, it added over 25,000 workers. Only Los Angeles had bigger numbers, adding almost 38,000 jobs over the year.

Orange County also outdid many of the nation’s 32 so-called “metropolitan divisions” — essentially separate employment centers within larger metropolitan area. Note:

In terms of annual job growth, Orange County ranked 11 out of the 32 metro divisions. While it was outpaced by the Texas metropolitan divisions of Fort Worth-Arlington (2.7 percent) and Dallas-Plano-Irving (2.3 percent), Orange County outgrew such prominent areas as Washington-Arlington-Alexandria (1.4 percent) and Boston-Cambridge-Quincy (0.9 percent).

In absolute terms, Orange County annual job growth ranked No. 9 – just outpacing Fort Worth-Arlington (23,500), and exceeding annual job increases in Nassau-Suffolk (19,900).

Finally, Orange County job growth is gaining some momentum – and prominence. To be true, Orange County is ways off from recapturing previous peak levels. But job recuperation will benefit the local housing industry as we move through this year.

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