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OC Job Boom

Orange County Office

Job growth, that magic elixir for real estate growth in Orange County, is back. Not quite to pre-recession levels, Altus Group senior EVP Rick Kalvoda tells us. But close enough.


There’s enough job growth in Orange County to sustain commercial real estate growth in the coming 12 months (so if your friend is crashing on your couch, tell him to get his lazy self out there), says Rick, who's with the company's research, valuation, and advisory practice in Irvine. Orange County’s unemployment rate of 5% (down from 5.9% a year ago) is now the lowest in SoCal, and below the national average. Snapped at the Counselors of Real Estate conference last month in Austin: Rick on the far right, with Wilson, Cribbs & Goren’s Reid Wilson, KLM Realty Advisors Glenn Silva, and NewTower Trust Co’s Brent Palmer. Rick was responsible for program content development for the conference.


A lot of the new jobs are quality gigs—the kind that spur office leasing. The state Employment Development Dept reported for the 12 months ending in April, the county added 26,900 jobs. Of those, professional and business services posted the largest annual increase of any category, with an overall gain of 8,700 jobs. Even better, Rick predicts that this kind of job growth will continue. “This wave of job creation appears sustainable, and should be enough for commercial real estate to continue its growth,” Rick says.