Oregon’s unemployment Rate Holding Flat

Posted by on Jul 19, 2010 | Leave a Comment

On 13th July, 2010 the latest unemployment rate released for Oregon is 10.5 percent. For the most recent eight months, the rate has been between 10.5 and 10.7 percent. In June 2009, Oregon’s unemployment rate was 11.6 percent, which joined May 2009 as Oregon’s highest unemployment rate since the early 1980s.

Oregon's unemployment Rate Holding Flat

In March, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 10.6 % which was compared with 10.5% in February. In January, February and March, the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.7 percent. Brian Rooney of the Regional Economist Employment Department said, “We’re in a slow recovery and even a faltering recovery, but a lot of economists have predicted that it would be that way.” The average unemployed Oregonian is on unemployment insurance for 30 weeks, and workforce experts say it’s mentally and emotionally draining to look for jobs in today’s market.

Cooke, a guest Wednesday morning on Wake Up Bend!, said after the unemployment rate hit 11.6% in the spring of 2009, figures started to drop, but have since late last year. He added the eight months without the employment figure changing very unusual. “This 10.5% unemployment rate is the highest Oregon has had since the early 1980s, during that recession. So, this recovery period, the rate remains stubbornly high.”

In June, Educational and health services cut only 2,400 jobs, when a loss of 4,100 is the normal seasonal pattern. Private educational services was the primary reason for the better-than-normal showing in June, as the published figure was a cut of only 1,600 jobs during the start of the summer break. Employing 28,800, educational services was 200 above it’s year-ago figure.

Government employment declined due mainly to the ending of 2,600 temporary Census jobs in June. Most of the major industries saw monthly job changes that were close to their normal seasonal pattern in the private sector. The biggest exception was in professional and business services, which posted a seasonally adjusted job decline of 2,500. In March, Manufacturing rose by 1,100 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, reaching a total of 162,400 jobs. This puts the industry back where it was during August through December 2009.

In June, Government shed 3,500 jobs at a time of year when a loss of only 300 is expected because of seasonality. The ending of work for 2,611 intermittent Census workers reduced both federal government and total government for June, subtracting from the 6,403 individuals who were working for the Census in May.

There was a substantial upward revision to the May payroll employment numbers. The originally reported seasonally adjusted totals showed no change between April and May. Revised numbers show a gain of 2,600 jobs. The upward revisions were spread across several service-providing industries: government; educational and health services; professional and business services; and trade, transportation, and utilities.

In the month of June, Professional and business services took unexpected drop of 2,500 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, following a flat seasonally adjusted trend since October. Much of the decline in June was due to below-normal hiring in the component industry “administrative and waste services”. Trade, transportation, and utilities added 1,500 jobs in June, about its typical June seasonal pattern. However, its component industries saw differing trends.

Some of the industries did add jobs. Like the restaurant industry, it seems to be picking up, added 800 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. A couple of other service-providing industries were up a bit in June, including information and financial activities.” In recent months, Leisure and hospitality has shown signs of improvement. About 203,000 Oregonians were unemployed in May. That’s about 20,000 fewer than in May of last year.

Seasonally adjusted employment in the industry has risen in each of the past three months. The gains so far have been only a modest reversal of the steep decline in the industry during late 2008 and early 2009. Since March 2009, accommodation is up 200 jobs, while arts, entertainment, and recreation are up 400 jobs. The closely watched employment services industry employed only 27,000 in June, which were 700 below its year-ago level.

New unemployment numbers have local economists comparing today’s slow recovery with Oregon’s timber downturn of the 1980s. But there is one major difference between unemployment numbers in the 80s and today. Experts say back then, laid-off timber workers always held onto hope that the mill would re-open or a shift would come back. Today’s unemployed workers are more willing to switch careers. Forster said, “There are still jobs out there. There are openings. Even though we may not be seeing a lot of brand new jobs out there, there are a lot of replacement jobs. People do leave their jobs for all sorts of reasons“.

The department said, over the past five months, though, the numbers of Oregonians holding jobs has increased. The stagnant jobs numbers are what economists predicted last year when they said the recessionary fever in Oregon had broken, but the economy would recover without adding large numbers of jobs. This industry is down 3,700 jobs over the past 12 months with job losses in all of its component categories.

The Employment Department’s regional economist for Portland, Amy Vander Vliet said, “I think that what we’re seeing right now is the bouncing along the bottom that most people expected as the economy begins to recover”. In May, for construction and manufacturing labor, the employment figures showed quickening in the markets, two areas the recession hit hard, but losses in retailing and real estate. There are two indicators that unemployment will stay flat for a while. The number of temp workers hired decreased in June, which is bad news. But trucking and warehousing employment was up, and that’s an early positive indicator for the economy.

Unemployment (Household Survey Data):

In March, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.6%, essentially unchanged from February’s 10.5% while, in June, it was 10.5 % compared with 10.6% in May. There were 241,319 Oregonians unemployed in the month of March, 2009 while it decreased up to 229,083 in the year 2010. The unemployment rate falls significantly since reaching a peak one year ago. Even though Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has been holding relatively steady over the past five months, the civilian labor force has been expanding for the first three months of 2010.

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the June county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Monday, July 19th and the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for July on August 17th.

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