Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 11.5 percent in September from the revised August figure of 12.0 percent. September’s rate was the lowest since the 10.7 percent rate in February, and was down from the high of 12.2 percent in May. Nonetheless, the rate is still very high by recent historical standards. By comparison, the annual average Oregon unemployment rate for all prior years dating back to 1986 ranged between a low of 4.9 percent in 1995 and a high of 8.1 percent in 2003. Oregon’s unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in September 2008.
The decline in Oregon’s unemployment rate in September was due to a drop of 11,080 in the seasonally adjusted number of unemployed individuals. The civilian labor force (seasonally adjusted) was close to being unchanged, edging down by 1,129 over the month.
In September, 211,529 Oregonians were unemployed. In September 2008, 121,240 Oregonians were unemployed.
In September, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 10,300 jobs, following a loss of 7,400 (as revised) in August. Seasonally adjusted employment has fallen by 104,400 jobs over the past year – and employment is now 124,300 lower than at its peak in December 2007.
In September, four major industries posted seasonally adjusted job losses of more than 1,000: government (-4,400); trade, transportation, and utilities (-3,900); educational and health services (?1,900); and leisure and hospitality (-1,300). Two of the other major industries posted gains: professional and business services (+2,200) and construction (+1,000).
Government added only 4,700 jobs in September as back-to-school employment was less robust than is typical. The typical seasonal upturn in government called for a gain of 9,100. Local government education was the primary reason for the tepid hiring. This industry is down 3,200 jobs since September 2008.
Trade, transportation, and utilities cut 2,300 jobs when a gain of 1,600 is the typical seasonal pattern. Wholesale trade cut 700 jobs, following a gain of 1,200 in July. Over the second and third quarter of 2009 wholesale trade has neither gained nor lost much ground, following steep job declines during the fourth quarter of 2008 and first quarter of 2009.
Leisure and hospitality continued to shed employment, dropping 5,800 jobs during September when a loss of 4,500 is the normal seasonal pattern. Restaurants took a big hit following their peak summer months. Full-service restaurants cut 800 jobs in September, while limited-service eating places shed 1,600.