Fueled in part by teachers returning to school and retailers opening new stores and beginning to beef up for the Christmas season, Orange County's jobless rate dropped from 4% in August to 3.7% in September--a low reached twice before this year.
In September, 1985, the jobless rate stood at 4.8%.
The county has enjoyed a low level of unemployment throughout the year, according to Alta Yetter Gale, a labor market analyst with the state Employment Development Department's office in Santa Ana, and has reached the 3.7% level twice already--in May and January.
Since January of 1974, when the EDD began compiling unemployment figures, the lowest level of unemployment in the county was 3.6%, posted in November, 1978. The county experienced its highest rate of unemployment--10.6%--in June, 1975, at the height of the oil embargo recession, Yetter Gale said.
Between August and September, 12,600 government jobs were added, mostly in education, as many county schools reopened after summer vacation. There was also an increase of 1,000 jobs in retailing from August to September, with more increases expected in the months ahead as stores enter the busy Christmas season. Last year, jobs in the retail sector dropped 1,900 from August to September.