Oregon’s Unemployed Number Nearly a Quarter Million

Oregon Employment Department: Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 12.0 percent in April compared with 11.9 percent (as revised) in March. The state’s unemployment rate remains well above its year-ago level of 5.6 percent in April 2008. Since falling to a cyclical low of 5.0 percent in early 2007, the unemployment rate has risen by 7.0 percentage points. In April, 242,550 Oregonians were unemployed. In April 2008, 101,964 Oregonians were unemployed. Thus, the number of unemployed more than doubled over the past 12 months.

In April, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment declined by 9,500 jobs, following a drop of 9,700 (as revised) in March. Job losses were large in each of these two months, but the losses were not as substantial as some of the monthly job losses in the prior five months when 22,800 were lost in February, 13,000 were cut in January, and 12,600 were cut in October.

In April, most of the major industries continued their employment trends of recent months. Four large industries cut employment substantially on a seasonally adjusted basis: manufacturing and construction were each down 3,100 jobs; professional and business services cut 3,800; while trade, transportation, and utilities shed 1,400. Meanwhile, two of the major industries continued their long-term trend of job gains. Government’s seasonally adjusted employment rose by 2,100. Educational and health services added 400 jobs.

Manufacturing cut 2,800 jobs in April at a time of year when a gain of 300 is the typical seasonal movement. Since November 2008, manufacturing’s seasonally adjusted employment has dropped by a total of 18,200. This five-month period has been characterized by a rapid and consistent fall in employment. The average decline during this period has been 3,640 jobs – a 23 percent annualized rate of decline.

Construction losses continued in April as the industry cut 3,100 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. Seasonally adjusted employment in construction has consistently dropped at a rapid pace over the past four months, with monthly declines averaging 2,600 since December. This follows average monthly declines of 1,200 during the prior 13 months, dating back to November 2007.

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