Or­ange County job growth forecast to pick up this year

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By An­drew Khouri an­drew.khouri@latimes.com Twit­ter: @khourian­drew

The Or­ange County econ­omy is ramp­ing up to beat the na­tion and the state in the job growth race this year.

Cal­i­for­nia’s third most pop­u­lous county should add nearly 47,000 jobs in 2015, a 3.1% in­crease that would be the strong­est in 15 years, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Wed­nes­day by the A. Gary An­der­son Cen­ter for Eco­nomic Re­search at Chap­man Univer­sity.

That in­crease in jobs rep­re­sents an ac­cel­er­a­tion from a 2.5% growth rate last year and comes from strong ex­pected gains in hos­pi­tal­ity, busi­ness ser­vices, healthcare and con­struc­tion. This year’s job growth rate should hit 2.9% in Cal­i­for­nia and 2% na­tion­wide, the re­port said.

Sev­eral fac­tors are driv­ing growth, said Es­mael Adibi, di­rec­tor of the school’s An­der­son Cen­ter.

Low lev­els of homes for sale will boost hous­ing con­struc­tion to sat­isfy de­mand from buy­ers, Adibi said. In ad­di­tion, Oba­macare is lead­ing to more in­sured res­i­dents and, in turn, more healthcare jobs, he said.

Mean­while, an im­prov­ing na­tional econ­omy should drive growth across a wide swath of Or­ange County in­dus­tries, pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple with vary­ing skills and ed­u­ca­tion, Adibi said.

“We sell lots of goods and ser­vices to the rest of the coun­try,” Adibi said. “If the na­tional econ­omy is bet­ter, we are go­ing to get more tourists at Dis­ney­land.”

The re­port fore­casts jobs in the leisure and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor to in­crease by 6,389 this year, while the con­struc­tion in­dus­try will add 3,587 jobs. Pro­fes­sional and busi­ness ser­vices will add 11,773 work­ers, and the ed­u­ca­tion and healthcare sec­tor will grow by 8,963 jobs.

The re­port fore­casts that the county will add nearly 41,000 jobs in 2016, for a slower growth rate of 2.6%.

Allen J. Schaben Los An­ge­les Times

DIS­NEY­LAND in Ana­heim is go­ing to draw more tourists if the na­tional econ­omy im­proves this year, says Es­mael Adibi, di­rec­tor of the A. Gary An­der­son Cen­ter for Eco­nomic Re­search at Chap­man Univer­sity.

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