The housing slump may have its greatest impact in Orange County, where nearly 6% of employment is directly related to construction, compared to less than 4% in Los Angeles County.
"When we have downswings in the housing cycle, it hits Orange County much harder," said James Doti, director of business forecasting at Chapman College in Orange.
The real estate downturn has also coincided with widespread layoffs in Southern California's defense industry, a double-whammy that did not exist in the last recession, when the military was at the beginning of its Reagan-era buildup.
Henry B. Wallace, a programs administrator laid off by McDonnell Douglas in July, is worried both about finding a new job and the market value of his Huntington Beach condominium, on which he has a $1,400 monthly mortgage.
"If I'm not working by the spring, I'll have to get rid of the condo," the 55-year-old Wallace said. "Or I guess I should say: I'll attempt to get rid of it."
A BIG DROP IN HOUSING CONSTRUCTION
New-home construction in California, a key part of the state's economy, has fallen sharply this year and the slide is expected to continue in 1991. More new houses were built in 1989 than at any time since 1977.
* NEW TACTICS
Realtors and others in thehousing industry find different ways to cope with tough times. K1.