Real Estate Hiring Hits a Wall in Southern California

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Hiring for real estate jobs in Southern California has stalled at the start of the spring sales season.

Property-linked employment in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties was 773,600 in April — up 200 for the month, the Orange County Register reported, citing state employment figures.

That’s 97 percent below the April average between 2015 and 2019, before the pandemic, when 7,540 jobs were added.

Blam rising mortgage rates, which have slowed new construction and the pace of real estate deals, according to the Register.

Over the past 12 months, local real estate work shrank locally by 1,700 positions – a 0.2 percent drop.

The average 12-month hiring pace added 13,500 new jobs a year since 2010, the end of the Great Recession.

The local property-related job count is 28,200 jobs below the post 2009-employment peak set in July 2022, when interest rates began rising. Many people who work in the industry  are self-employed and not tracked by traditional government bean counters.

The real estate sector hiring slowdown counters job growth across Southern California, where employment in all other industries was 7.19 million workers – up 22,800 jobs in a month. Over 12 months, non-real estate jobs have grown by 76,300 positions, a 1.1 percent gain.

Across the four counties, the real estate share of local employment was 9.7 percent in April. Since 2010, that figure has averaged 10.6 percent of all new jobs, according to the Register.

For the month of April, local work in specialist trade construction fell 1,600 jobs to 248,100; work in building, civil engineering and construction fell 400 jobs to 120,400; work in lending rose 200 jobs to 159,600; real estate services rose 300 jobs to 76,600; employment in building supplies rose 600 to 51,400 jobs; and work in building services rose 1,100 jobs to 107,500.

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At the same time, jobs in real estate rose 1,000 for the month to 379,900 in Los Angeles County, compared to an average growth of 2,300 hires. Sector jobs are 18,400 below a post-Great Recession high in November 2019, according to the Register. 

Real estate jobs fell by 600 jobs to 212,900 in Orange County, compared to an average 1,900 hires. Jobs are 17,500 below the August 2018 peak

In the Inland Empire, real estate jobs were down 200 for the month to 180,900 jobs, compared to an average 3,000 hires. Jobs are 5,300 below the October 2023 high.

— Dana Bartholomew

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