Oregon Job Growth Stalls

By Nick Beleiciks
Oregon Employment Department

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.5 percent in July, essentially unchanged from 9.4 percent in June. The national unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in July and 9.2 percent in June. Oregon’s July rate of 9.5 percent was 0.4 percentage point above the U.S. rate. The difference between the Oregon and the U.S. unemployment rates was not statistically significant.

In July, 189,501 Oregonians were unemployed. This is 21,148 fewer individuals than in July 2010 when 210,649 Oregonians were unemployed.

Over the past five months payroll employment has been nearly flat. Seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose 300 in July, following a revised gain of 300 in June. Between February and July, this measure of employment is up only 400 jobs, following strong gains totaling 22,800 during the prior four-month period of October through February.

Over the past four months, seasonally adjusted private employment expanded by 7,300 jobs, while government declined by 4,900.

In July, most of the major industries experienced close to the normal seasonal employment hiring patterns. Leisure and hospitality stood out, showing a substantial seasonally adjusted gain as it added 2,000 jobs. Several industries posted relatively large seasonally adjusted job losses: government (-900 jobs), educational and health services (-900), and other services (-1,500).

Government employment dropped by 29,800 jobs in July, which was 900 more than the normal seasonal movement. School closures for the summer were the primary reason for the monthly decline. Many local school districts reported lower employment levels this July compared to July 2010. These declines led to a 4.6 percent drop in local education employment, which was 3,700 jobs below its year-ago figure. Federal government added 400 jobs in July as the busy summer season for federal agencies with an emphasis on the outdoors took hold.

Educational and health services normally is expected to cut 2,400 jobs due to seasonal factors in July. This July, it cut 3,300. Much of the reduction in jobs was due to private educational services, which shed 2,500 jobs for the month. Despite the one-month cut, this industry is still up 1,400 jobs from July 2010.

Construction pulled up from its recent lows of 2010. In July, it added 3,000 workers at a time of year when a gain of 2,400 was expected due to seasonal factors. Coupled with the upward revision to June’s construction employment figures, the industry appears to be gradually rebounding from its lows of last year. Seasonally adjusted employment in construction reached 70,700 in July, which was 4,300 above its recent low point of 66,400 in September 2010.

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