The number of new jobs in Orange County this year will be lower than originally estimated by Chapman College economists last December, James L. Doti, dean of Chapman's business and management school, said in his annual forecast update Thursday.
A faster-than-expected drop in oil prices will slow the increase of new jobs to about 45,000, for a year-end total of about 1.05 million jobs, Doti told 100 business leaders at a luncheon at the private college in Orange.
He had predicted in December that 58,000 jobs would be created.
The employment figure, he said, "is the most comprehensive growth indicator for the county."
Orange County has the third-fastest rate of employment growth in the nation, according to the National Planning Assn. The Washington group estimated total county jobs last year at 1.15 million--including military employees, which Chapman doesn't include--and said that 702,000 more jobs will be created by the year 2000. That puts it right behind the Los Angeles-Long Beach area, with 1 million new jobs expected by the end of the century, and metropolitan Boston, with 755,000 new jobs predicted.
One of the factors in Doti's job-growth equation is the Commerce Department's figure for last year's income growth. The agency put the figure at 3.4% late last year but has been revising it downward ever since. The latest revision put the figure at 0.7%, which Doti termed a "near-recessionary" level.