Oregon has had four months of strong job growth

By Oregon Employment Department,

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.4 percent in January, essentially unchanged from 10.6 percent in December. Newly revised figures show that Oregon’s unemployment rate was 11.0 percent in January 2010. January marked Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate in 24 months. Not since January 2009, when the rate was 9.9 percent, has Oregon’s rate been lower. In January, 218,789 Oregonians were unemployed.

In January, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 6,300, following a revised gain of 4,000 in December. In January, three industries added at least 1,000 jobs more than is normally expected at this time of year: educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; and manufacturing.

Educational and health services cut 2,200 jobs in January, when a loss of 6,100 is the normal seasonal movement to start the year. Educational services cut 2,400 jobs, but is up 900 over the prior 12 months. Health care and social services rose by 200 in January and was up 4,900 from January 2010. Substantial gains were seen in each of its four component industries in the past 12 months: hospitals, (+600 jobs); ambulatory health care services (+1,300); nursing and residential care facilities (+1,500); and social assistance (+1,500).

Leisure and hospitality spiked upward in January, as the posted employment change was above the normal drop of 3,200 jobs in January. Food services and drinking places propelled recent employment growth, adding 2,300 jobs since January 2010.

Manufacturing cut 2,300 jobs in January, when a loss of 3,300 is the normal seasonal movement. Newly revised numbers show that manufacturing employment slowly rebounded from a low point reached in late 2009. Over the past 12 months, manufacturing added 2,300 jobs or 1.4 percent. During that time, fabricated metals (+800 jobs), machinery manufacturing (+700), and semiconductors (+400) boosted the durable goods side, while food manufacturing (+3,000) led the way in the nondurable goods sector.

Trade, transportation, and utilities countered the overall trend, as the lone major industry to post a large seasonally adjusted drop in January. It shed 14,600 jobs, which was more than the typical loss of 12,400 in January. This downtick was a partial pullback from its rapid job gains during the last three months of 2010.

The average workweek for Oregon’s manufacturing production workers was 38.3 hours in January, down from 39.2 in December. Average earnings of all employees in Oregon spiked upward to $22.03 per hour in January from $21.66 in December. This measure of earnings rose to its highest level in at least four years. It is up from $21.52 in January 2010. The increase in earnings boosted average weekly earnings of private-sector payroll employees to $751.22 in January. This was up from $727.78 in December and $710.16 in January 2010.

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