SoCal Real Estate Jobs in March Plunged 36% From Seasonal Average


Construction for multifamily projects in Southern California is at 10-year low, and hiring trends in the built industry are reflecting the downturn. 

There were 755,900 property-related jobs in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties in March, according to reporting from the O.C. Register. While that figure is an increase of 2,200 from February, it’s still 36 percent below the seasonal norm for these Southern California counties. 

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On a local level, just 7,400 real estate jobs were added over the past 12 months — 46 percent less than the typical yearly average increase of 13,800 jobs, per O.C. Register

The hiring slowdown in the property sector is likely another symptom of high interest rates and the Federal Reserve signaling that it doesn’t intend to lower rates until later this year. There were 7.19 million workers in all other industries across Southern California in March, a bump of 25,600 from the previous month. 

Broken down by metropolitan area, L.A. County had the highest amount of total real estate-related jobs in March at 361,300, but the slowest growth at just 300 new positions. The March average from 2015 through 2019 was 1,100 new hires, according to O.C. Register

Orange County, which typically averages 500 hires in March, fared slightly better with 800 added jobs. The 213,700 positions currently held in the county represent a boost of 2,300 jobs over the past year, yet the county’s total is still 16,700 jobs below the post-Great Recession high recorded in August 2018.

Real estate jobs saw the highest monthly increase in the Inland Empire with 1,100 — even though it’s below the typical March average of 1,800 new gigs. Still, its total of 180,900 is up 5,800 over 12 months, or a 3.3 percent year-over-year gain. 

Breaking the jobs numbers down by trade is a little trickier. There were 700 more trade construction specialists hired across all Southern California regions in March, for a total of 248,800. Meanwhile, 7,100 were added over 12 months, representing a 2.9 percent improvement. 

Building, civil and construction gigs were similarly up 900 jobs in March and up 2,000 over the previous year, for a gain of 1.7 percent. Building services jobs meanwhile saw the highest bump, with 1,900 jobs in March and 2,900 jobs over 12 months, adding to its total of 108,600. 

Yet that’s where the relative good news ends. Real estate lending saw 100 fewer jobs in March, with a drop of 4,000 over the previous year. The current total of credit workers is 88,200 across all Southern California regions. Building supplies gigs were a mixed bag — the amount of jobs added in that trade in March remained flat, but was down 800 over 12 months. Real estate services gigs also took a big slash in March, shrinking 1,200 jobs, but the total was actually up 200 from the previous year. 

The number of new hires in all of these sectors were still far below their post-Great Recession highs at various times between 2012 and 2020, according to O.C. Register

Nick Trombola can be reached at