Oregon workers break two million mark for first time!

Civilian Labor Force Tops Two Million
By Oregon Employment Department,

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.6 percent in November, essentially unchanged from 10.5 percent in October. The rate has been between 10.5 and 10.7 percent for the most recent 13 months. Oregon’s unemployment rate was 10.7 percent in November 2009.

The month marked the first time that Oregon’s civilian labor force surpassed two million people. The exact figure was 2,001,060 in November, which was up from 1,984,209 in October. It is likely that population growth in the state has been one of the primary drivers of recent growth in Oregon’s labor force. Economic expansion, following the depths of the recession in mid-2009, is also a likely contributor.

In November, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 6,300, following a revised gain of 6,700 in October. Private-sector employment added jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in five of the past six months. Since its recent low point of 1,290,300 in March, private payroll employment gained 17,700 jobs, or 1.4 percent. It accounted for nearly all of the seasonally adjusted job gains in November and over the past 12 months.

Over-the-year job gains continue to expand. Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm payroll employment was up 16,200 jobs or 1.0 percent since November 2009. Many of the service-providing sectors added thousands of jobs and grew by almost 2 percent during the past 12 months. Industries shedding jobs during that period include construction (-5,000 jobs) and financial activities (-1,200).

In November, construction shed 1,900 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. This job loss was more than offset by five of the major industries, which each added substantial employment on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Trade, transportation, and utilities shot upward in November, adding 7,300 jobs during a month when a seasonal gain of 3,900 is the norm. Wholesale trade added 1,100 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, bouncing back from a decline of the same magnitude in October. Wholesale is up 2,300 jobs in the past 12 months, and recovered nearly a third of its job losses from the peak of over 81,000 jobs three years ago.

Manufacturing showed no overall change in total employment, when a loss of 1,500 is the normal seasonal pattern. This put the industry back where it has been for much of the year, close to 162,000 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. Computer and electronic product manufacturing added 400 jobs in November, but is down 500 since November 2009. Within nondurable goods, food manufacturing was essentially flat in November, but down by 800 over the year.

Government added 3,700 jobs in November, which was 400 above normal seasonal expectations. The mid-term elections and governor’s race boosted county government job counts temporarily as several counties added part-time workers to handle the additional election work.

Educational and health services added 900 jobs in November, when a loss of 200 is the normal seasonal movement. Health care and social assistance added 300 jobs and is up 1,600 since November 2009. This industry has been growing modestly over the past several months, after an unusually weak trend earlier in the year. Since November 2009, the component industry adding the most jobs was nursing and residential care facilities, which is up 1,500 during that time.

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