OC’s Improving Economy–Here are the numbers

Orange County’s economic recovery continues despite an uptick to 6.1 percent unemployment in June 2013 from 5.5 percent in May with the creation of 8,500 jobs. Job creation was spread across most sectors, with the largest gains occurring in Leisure/Hospitality (Tourism), Professional & Business Services, Trade/Logistics, and Construction. Manufacturing, Financial Services, and Healthcare also enjoyed solid job growth, all signs that the local economy is experiencing a broad-based recovery. The reason that the unemployment rate is up this month is primarily because more Orange County residents are actively looking for work as the job market improves. The county’s unemployment rate continues to be significantly under the state and national averages of 8.8 percent and 7.8 percent respectively.

CNBC recently ranked California in the bottom five for ” America’s Top States for Business 2013“, based on criteria such as cost of doing business, quality of life, technology and innovation, infrastructure and transportation and more. While California has had a strong comeback from the recession and is currently the eighth largest economy in the world, factors such as California’s high cost of doing business and high unemployment rate hindered the state’s rankings. Despite CNBC’s rankings, Orange County is a stark contrast from California due to its large and diverse market, top notch education, quality of life, and leadership in job creation.

In addition to the added jobs in June, Orange County created 24,500 jobs in the past year and continues to see improvement. Some of Orange County’s top employers include The Boeing Co., California State University, Fullerton, Disneyland Resort,  Hoag Hospital, and University of California, Irvine. With more than 3.1 million residents, the county has a workforce of 1.6 million people, including 37 percent of residents over 25 obtaining a bachelor’s degree. The large percentage of educated citizens places the county as one of the top five most educated regions in the nation. In a culture where business is driven by technology, Orange County ranks second in the nation in number of high-tech clusters. One of Orange County’s advantages in doing business is its ideal location. It is a hub for international business and trade due to its close proximity to Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The county mainly exports to Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, and Mexico. Orange County’s ethnically diverse population–more diversity than California and the nation–is key to providing contacts for international business.

The county has also invested more than $15 billion in transportation investment to improve easy access to work, business transportation and quality of life. Compared to the state and the nation, Orange County currently has a higher quality of life with one of the nation’s lowest crime rates and a plethora of world class amusement parks, shopping centers, dining, arts and culture and more. Adding to the optimism about the Orange County economy was California State University, Fullerton’s recently release Orange County Business Expectations index, a survey of local business executives that reached 93.9, the highest level of optimism in nine years. A reading higher than 50 represents positive prospects about the economy. Dr. Anil Puri, Dean, Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, was quoted as saying “Executives continue to feel more optimistic, maybe even upbeat.” Visit www.LocationOC.com to learn more. For more information, contact Matt Petteruto, Vice President, Economic Development.

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