Oregon: 11 month long job stand-still

By Oregon Employment Department

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.6 percent in September, unchanged from August. The rate has been between 10.5 and 10.7 percent for the most recent 11 months. Oregon’s unemployment rate was 11.0 percent in September 2009.

In September, 196,303 Oregonians were unemployed, the fewest since December 2008, when 173,388 were unemployed. Much of the reason for the drop below 200,000 was that September typically marks the low point for the year in the number of unemployed (not seasonally adjusted). Many industries, such as construction, business services, and education, hit their high point for seasonal employment near this time of year.

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 1,800 in September, following a loss of 2,800 (as revised) in August.

Seasonally adjusted employment in the private sector grew by 1,600 in September. This measure of employment reached a recent low of 1,290,300 in March. Since then it has risen by 5,600.

In September, three of the major industries had large seasonally adjusted job declines: government (-3,400), manufacturing (-2,100), and construction (-1,000). These losses were partially offset by gains in leisure and hospitality (+2,800), professional and business services (+1,400), and other services (+1,400).

Manufacturing slashed 1,900 jobs in September, during a month when it would typically add 200 jobs. Wood product manufacturing cut 400 jobs to employ 19,900 in September. The industry has been hovering around 20,000 jobs for the past 12 months.

Computer and electronic product manufacturing cut 500 jobs in September. This put the industry back to where it was in January 2010, near its lowest employment total since 1995.

Despite improvements at the national level in the number of RVs being manufactured and sold over the past year, Oregon’s transportation equipment manufacturing employment continues to trend downward. Employment was 8,600 in September, which was down 300 for the month and down 1,200 for the year.

Construction cut 1,300 jobs in September, when a loss of 300 is the normal seasonal movement. Most of the published component industries within construction showed over-the-month job losses, including residential building construction (-400) and building equipment contractors (-900).

Professional and business services has been on the upswing over the past three months. In September, it added 1,400 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. Professional and technical services accounted for most of this gain, as it added 1,200 jobs. Companies in this industry include those providing services in accounting, design, consulting, research, advertising, and veterinary.

The closely watched “employment services” industry added 800 for the month and is also up 800 since September 2009.

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