Irvine Co. drops 75 jobs

The Irvine Co. has eliminated about 75 positions through a combination of layoffs and the closing of open positions, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed Monday.

The layoffs were mainly in the corporate administration and included areas like finance, the person said. A second source, who asked not to be named, confirmed that the total number of eliminated jobs was about 75.

It was unclear how many jobs were eliminated through layoffs versus cutting open positions. It is also not known how many employees were affected by the restructuring or what financial impact those positions have on the company.

The eliminated positions represent about 2% of the privately held company's 3,200-person workforce. Most of the employees are based at the company's Newport Beach headquarters and has other locations statewide.

"Challenges in the broader U.S. and California economies have led to prolonged recession in the real estate market," said Erin Freeman, company senior vice president of corporate communications. "Many segments of real estate across the nation, including California, are still depressed. Today's staff reductions are part of the company's organizational restructure to meet the challenges of the current real estate market."

The layoffs took effect Friday. Affected employees were expected to receive severance packages.

"California continues to suffer some of highest unemployment rates in nation, has generally higher commercial vacancy rates, considerable amounts of unsold housing inventory and, of course, one of nation's worst fiscal situations," said Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors' chief economist. "Put all this together and these are not terrific times for the state of California or its contractors."

However, Orange County is faring better than some areas of the state. Sacramento and Riverside still have depressed real estate markets, but to call Orange County a "depressed real estate market is an over simplification," Basu said.

A more accurate description would to be to describe the Orange County market as "struggling," he continued.

He pointed to falling office vacancy rates, now at 21%, as a positive sign of recovery.

"It's falling from quite high levels, but falling nonetheless, which is consistent with broader recovery," Basu said.

The Irvine Co.'s portfolio includes 116 apartment communities, 484 office buildings, 41 retail centers, and five yacht marinas, according to the company's website.

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