Oregon’s April Job Gain Largest Since 2007

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By Oregon Employment Department,

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 10.6 percent in April, the same level as in March. The rate has been essentially unchanged for the most recent six months. Oregon’s unemployment rate was 11.5 percent in April 2009. In April, 211,688 Oregonians were unemployed. In April 2009, 225,744 Oregonians were unemployed.

As the national economy expands, following one of the deepest recessions in decades, many individuals who dropped out of the labor force are returning. This appears to be happening in Oregon as well. Oregon’s labor force participation rate rose to 64.7 percent in April after reaching a low of 64.0 percent in December.

The signs of encouragement from an expanding economy are evident in the seasonally adjusted labor force and employment figures. Oregon’s civilian labor force reached a recent low of 1,935,774 in December 2009. Since then the labor force rose by 27,849 – an annual growth rate of over 4 percent. Similarly, seasonally adjusted employment reached a recent low of 1,730,093 in December and grew by nearly 25,000 over the last four months.

In April, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 3,900 jobs, following a loss of 700 (as revised) in March. The April increase was the largest monthly gain in two and one-half years. The most recent month with a larger gain was October 2007, when Oregon added 4,800 payroll jobs.

In April, most of the major industries performed near their normal pattern. One major industry showed a seasonally adjusted job change of 1,000 or more: government (+2,800 jobs). Three major industries added close to 500 jobs each, while one major industry posted a substantial job decline: manufacturing (-500 jobs).

Government added jobs in April at a time of year when a loss of 1,100 is expected due to seasonality. The addition of 1,022 intermittent census workers boosted both federal government and total government for April, adding to the 930 already working for the U.S. Census Bureau in March. Local government added 500 jobs, but was down 500 from April 2009.

Construction added 1,300 jobs in April, close to the normal seasonal gain for the month. This industry has shown a seasonally adjusted job gain of 400 between February and April, marking the first such gain since early 2007. Despite the recent uptick, the industry employed only 64,400 in April, compared with more than 105,000 at the height of the housing boom in early 2007.

Manufacturing cut 800 jobs in April, when a loss of only 300 was expected due to seasonal factors. Most of the losses were concentrated in nondurable goods manufacturing, which shed 700 jobs. This industry employed 47,200 in April compared with 47,400 in April 2009.