Details behind Oregon’s high unemployment

By Oregon Employment Department,

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 11.3 percent in October from the revised September figure of 11.3 percent. This was the lowest rate since the 10.7 percent rate in February, and was below the high of 12.2 percent in May. Oregon’s unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in October 2008.

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate was only 1.1 percentage points above the U.S. unemployment rate. This is the closest Oregon’s rate has been to the U.S. since December 2008 when the gap was also 1.1 percentage point.

In October, 210,325 Oregonians were unemployed. In October 2008, 135,071 Oregonians were unemployed.

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 1,900 jobs in October, following a loss of 6,000 (as revised) in September.

In October, three major industries posted seasonally adjusted job losses of more than 1,000: manufacturing (-2,400 jobs), construction (-1,900), and leisure and hospitality (-1,500). Two of the other major industries posted gains: professional and business services (+1,500) and financial activities (+1,400).

Manufacturing continued to cut jobs, slashing 3,100 in October – a month when the job loss due to seasonal factors would normally be 700. Durable goods shed 2,200 in October, as wood product manufacturing cut 900 jobs, machinery manufacturing cut 300, and computer and electronic product manufacturing cut 700. The only published durable goods industry to add jobs was transportation equipment manufacturing, which added 200.

Nondurable goods manufacturing cut 900 jobs in October and is down 4,600 since October 2008. Both food manufacturing (-500 jobs) and paper manufacturing (-100) shed workers.

Construction resumed its downward employment trajectory with a loss of 3,000 jobs in October during a month when a loss of only 1,100 is the norm. The trend for the industry since February has been one of moderate job losses as seasonally adjusted construction employment was 82,400 in February and has dropped to 76,500 by October.

Professional and business services has shown a pronounced upturn in October following several months of steady employment. Seasonally adjusted employment was close to 180,000 between April and September, but rose to 181,800 in October.

Leisure and hospitality continued its recent job losses by cutting 6,000 jobs in October – a month that normally sees a loss of 4,500 due to seasonal factors. The trend over the last year has been one of steady and substantial job losses following a flat trend during the prior year. Over the past 12 months, the industry is down over 12,000 jobs, equaling a loss of 7 percent.

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