Job growth to rise in Inland Empire, as it slows in Orange and Los Angeles Counties – Orange County Register

Payrolls in Orange and Los Angeles counties will continue to expand this year and next, but at a more modest rate than before, while job creation in the Inland Empire soars.

That’s the prediction of Cal State Fullerton economists in their semi-annual forecast, released today. (TODAY IS THURSDAY. NOTE EMBARGO LIFTS AT 11:59 p.m TONIGHT WEDNESDAY)

“Orange County is close to full employment,” said Mira Farka, co-author of the survey with Anil Puri. “So any future gains will occur at a slower clip than in previous years.

“Inland Empire growth will be more robust because the economy there has a lot more slack. In L.A. we’ll see job growth, but at the same pace as before.”

The forecast predicts payroll jobs in Orange County will grow by 2.1 percent this year and 1.9 percent in 2018, down from 2.3 percent in 2016.

While the jobless rate remains low, at 3.7 percent, more people are expected to enter the labor force, boosting payrolls, Farka said.

Los Angeles County employment growth will dip slightly from 2.5 percent in 2016 to 2.3 percent in 2017 and 2.1 percent the following year, the economists foresee.

Riverside and San Bernardino counties will expand by 4.4 percent this year, up from 3.5 percent in 2016. In 2018, the forecast predicts a 4.8 percent growth.

“The Inland Empire lost a lot of jobs during the collapse — more than Orange County and Los Angeles,” Farka said, “So they have a lot to make up. The housing bust was much bigger there, which decimated the economy.”

Inland Empire employment growth has been driven by construction, which added jobs at a 7.9 percent rate last year, along with transportation and warehousing, at 7.3 percent.

Construction also was the fastest growing sector in Orange County last year, at 5.7 percent. Leisure and hospitality, which includes hotels and restaurants, grew by 3.9 percent as tourism continued to boom.

Professional and business services, which includes high-earning lawyers and managers as well as…

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