Unemployment Rate in County Declines to Record Low of 3%

May 29, 1987|MARY ANN GALANTE | Times Staff Writer

Gains in service-sector employment helped reduce Orange County's unemployment rate three-tenths of 1 percentage point to a record low of 3% in April--the lowest jobless rate since the state began keeping statistics 13 years ago.

In addition, the number of jobless residents in the county dropped by 3,700 from March to April, to 39,400, the lowest since May, 1979, the state Employment Development Department reported Thursday.

The county's April unemployment rate slid from 3.3% in March and was the second lowest in the state--trailing Marin County's 2.9%, but ahead of San Mateo's 3.1%, said Alta Gale, the state's labor market

analyst for Orange County.

Gale traced much of the drop in unemployment to growth in the services industry, especially in business services, such as employment agencies, research and development labs, and computer services. Employment in the services industries climbed by 3,800 during April to 268,100--an increase of 7.2%, or 18,100, since April of 1986.

Growth in the wholesale and retail industries also eased joblessness in the county last month, notably with added workers in restaurants and the warehousing and distribution of manufactured goods, Gale said.

The latest statistics mark the third consecutive month in which Orange County has seen a decreasing jobless rate.

Orange County firms employed a record 1,090,000 in April--up 7,700 jobs from March and an increase of 4.8%, or 49,600 jobs, from April, 1986.

The monthly employment statistics report predicted continued growth in employment for the next two months from the opening of new hotels and other businesses in the trade and services sectors.

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