Oregon jobless rate: Lowest since 2009

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Lowest in Three Years
by Nick Beleiciks
Oregon Employment Department

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in November, a drop of 0.4 percentage point from 9.5 percent in October. The latest figures indicate that Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has been on a generally declining trend for the past two and a half years. Since reaching a high point of 11.6 percent in May and June 2009, Oregon’s rate has slowly diminished. At 9.1 percent in November, the rate is at its lowest point since November 2008, when Oregon’s rate was 8.4 percent.

In November, 167,563 Oregonians were unemployed. This is 41,806 fewer individuals than in November 2010 when 209,369 Oregonians were unemployed.

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment declined by 1,600 in November, following a revised loss of 600 in October. November job gains were led by educational and health services (+2,300 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,900); and construction (+900). Gains were offset by losses in leisure and hospitality (-3,000), manufacturing ( 2,300), financial activities (-1,100), and government ( 900).

Educational and health services grew rapidly, adding 2,600 jobs during a month where net hiring is typically up by 300. Since November 2010, this private-sector industry group has added the most jobs of any of the large sectors, posting a gain of 10,400 in that time.

Construction continued to tread water near 70,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis, with 70,300 jobs in November, compared with 69,400 in October, and also 70,300 in September. Similar to total nonfarm employment, construction has been in a tight range since February, when it employed 70,200 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Leisure and hospitality dropped back from its summer peak demand times and employed 164,000 in November. The industry added jobs compared with its year-ago figure when it employed 158,300.

Manufacturing cut 2,600 jobs in November, when a loss of only 300 would be the normal seasonal movement. Durable goods manufacturing gradually diminished its workforce over the past few months, following a robust start to the year. Since November 2010, over-the-year losses in wood product manufacturing (-1,300 jobs) have been more than offset by gains in machinery manufacturing (+800) and computer and electronic product manufacturing (+1,400).

Financial activities cut 1,200 jobs, when a loss of only 100 is the normal seasonal movement for November. This industry remains near its post-recession lows of close to 93,200 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Government added 2,000 jobs in November, which was slightly below its normal seasonal pattern of 2,900 jobs added for the month. Schools, at both the local and state levels, normally are near their high point for the year in November. This year, state government education employed 34,000, which was up 1,800 since November 2010. However, local government education reflected the extent of recent budget cuts, employing only 101,200 in November, which was down 5,000 from its year-ago figure.

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