Market Report

Orange County Market Report

4Q 2020

Subdued Tourism Lengthens Metro’s Road to Recovery; Future Supply Pressure Minimal in Most Submarkets

Concentration of high-paying jobs buoys economy. Heavily dependent on tourism and its sizable office-using sector, Orange County was significantly impacted by nonessential business closures at the onset of the health crisis. From March to April, nearly 275,000 positions were shed, including more than 100,000 leisure and hospitality jobs and 50,000 professionals in traditional office fields. Since, the two employment bases have been on different paths. From May to September, the office-using segment recaptured nearly half the positions lost during the pandemic’s initial months. In contrast, the number of leisure and hospitality employees was unchanged from the second to third quarter, as the continued closures of Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm translated to internal layoffs and handcuffed nearby businesses’ ability to bolster staffs. With both parks unlikely to return to full operation until next summer, the sector is unlikely to record a near-term uptick in hiring as tourism will remain muted.
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