Detailed State Report on 8% Unemployment Announcement

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent in November from 7.2 percent (as revised) in October. The state’s unemployment rate has risen sharply over the past five months after remaining stable throughout the first half of the year at near 5.5 percent. The U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent in November, from 6.5 percent in October.

In November, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment declined by 6,300 jobs, following a drop of 11,700 (as revised) in October.

Industry Payroll Employment
(Establishment Survey Data)
In November, seasonally adjusted payroll employment dropped by 6,300 jobs. This was the fourth consecutive monthly loss of more than 4,000 jobs. This measure of employment totaled 1,707,000 in November, which was a drop of 34,900 jobs or 2.0 percent since the highest such employment level of 1,741,900 was reached in February. In recent months, industry employment data indicate that Oregon’s economic downturn has broadened. In November, two major industry categories, which were not the first to cut jobs this year, registered substantial job losses: leisure and hospitality ( 1,800 jobs) and trade, transportation, and utilities (-4,200 jobs). Construction continued to trend downward (-2,200 jobs), while government (+1,200 jobs) continued to trend higher.

Leisure and hospitality employment dropped substantially during September, October and November. Job losses were evident in both components of this major industry. In November alone the component industry “arts, entertainment, and recreation” shed 500 jobs, while “accommodation and food services” cut 3,000. Until November, the monthly employment numbers were indicating a relatively stable situation in limited-service eating places. But November saw a drop of 1,300 jobs in this industry, putting it 2,300 jobs below its year-ago level. Meanwhile, full-service restaurants shed another 800 jobs in November and now this industry is down 2,500 jobs since November 2007.

Trade, transportation, and utilities normally would add 5,300 jobs in November as retailers ramp up holiday hiring. This November, they added only 1,100 jobs, continuing a pattern of weak employment numbers dating back to February. Retail trade was down 8,800 jobs or 4.2 percent since November 2007. About half of those jobs lost over the past 12 months were in motor vehicle and parts dealers, which have shed 4,000 jobs since then. Clothing stores have been hit hard by the economic downturn; they have cut 1,300 jobs in the past 12 months.

Construction continued to rapidly shrink its payrolls, cutting 5,500 jobs when a loss of 3,300 is the normal seasonal movement. Most of construction’s component industries cut jobs in November including residential building construction (-1,300 jobs), heavy and civil engineering construction (-1,500), building foundation and exterior contractors (-1,000), and building equipment contractors (-1,000).

Government expanded by 4,400 jobs at a time of year when a gain of 3,200 is the norm. Federal, state, and local government each have grown over the year. About half of government’s total gain of 7,500 in those 12 months has occurred in education, with state education up 900 jobs and local education up 2,600.

Professional and business services continued to trend downward, losing 3,700 jobs when a loss of 2,600 is the normal seasonal movement. Employment services shed 2,000 jobs, while services to buildings and dwellings cut 400.

Since November 2007, seasonally adjusted employment in professional and business services is down 2.6 percent. This percent decline is very similar to most of Oregon’s private service-providing industries. Of these seven major industries, five have declined by 2.2 to 2.7 percent. The two exceptions are “other services”, which has dropped 0.7 percent and “educational and health services”, which is up 4.9 percent.

Manufacturing was propped up by nondurable goods, which didn’t drop as much as normal for the month. Also, there were no workers counted as being on strike as far as the payroll employment numbers are concerned. Consequently, transportation equipment manufacturing bounced back from its low October level. Other than these two factors, most of the rest of manufacturing recorded job losses for the month. Several industries continued their downtrends including wood product manufacturing (-500 jobs), machinery manufacturing (-200 jobs), and computer and electronic product manufacturing (-600 jobs).

Unemployment (Household Survey Data)
In November, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent from 7.2 percent in October. The November figure was Oregon’s highest since the rate was 8.2 percent in September 2003. In November 2007, Oregon’s unemployment rate was 5.4 percent. Thus, the rate has risen by 2.7 percentage points over the past 12 months. In November 156,361 Oregonians were unemployed, an increase of 58,133 from the November 2007 level of 98,228.

The Oregon Employment Department will release statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for December 2008 at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 20, 2009.

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