Posted by: Josh Lehner | May 18, 2010

Oregon Employment – April 2010 Report

The Oregon Employment Department released the preliminary estimates for April this morning. On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment increased from March to April by 3,900 jobs. This marks the largest single month increase in employment in over two and half years (October 2007). The majority of the job gains were in the public sector (+2,800) with a little more than 1,000 of those gains due to the hiring of census workers. Overall, the increase in employment was spread across six industry sectors with construction (+100), information (+400), financial activities (+400), educational and health services (+200) and other services (+600) also seeing increased employment in April. These job gains were offset by losses in manufacturing (-500) and trade, transportation and utilities (-100). Employment in the mining and logging, professional and business services and leisure and hospitality industries remained unchanged in April. With job gains in January and April of this year, Oregon has seen a net increase of 3,500 through the first four months compared to the end of 2009. On a year-over-year basis, employment in April was 28,900 lower than in April 2009, or 1.78 percent.

On a monthly basis, employment in Oregon peaked in February 2008 and has declined in 24 of the 26 months since. Total job loss since peak employment is 145,100, or 8.34 percent. For the first time in over a year (16 months), this makes the current recession less bad than the early 1980s recession in Oregon, at least in terms of employment losses (see graph below). After the first 26 months of that recession, Oregon employment had fallen 8.68 percent from its peak in November 1979, or 93,100 jobs.

As mentioned above, census hirings contributed to the headline employment gain. It is expected that another strong increase in these temporary positions will be evident in the May employment report; however, these positions will be eliminated through the remainder of the year as the census winds down. In Oregon, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Federal Government employees increased by 1,400 in April, after increasing 500 in March. The graph below illustrates the monthly changes in Federal Government employees in Oregon during the recent census years. One important note: the data used in the graph below represents total federal government employment in Oregon and is not exclusively related to the census, however the changes (both increases and decreases) are larger in census years due to the temporary nature of the positions.

Also included in the March reports was the unemployment rate estimate. On a seasonally adjusted basis, Oregon’s unemployment rate was 10.6 percent in April, unchanged from March’s rate. The unemployment rate in April 2009 was 11.5 percent. The unemployment rate is based on what is commonly referred to as the “household survey”, which provides monthly estimates of the number of labor force participants and the levels of employment and unemployment. In the first four months of 2010 the level of self reported employment in the household survey has increased (light green line), as has the number of individuals seeking employment. From March to April, the labor force increased 8,817, meaning an additional nearly 9,000 Oregonians were seeking employment, while the employment series increased 7,650. These changes are proportional to each other, for all intents and purposes, and thus the unemployment rate remained unchanged over the month. The graph below compares the relative changes in Oregon’s labor market with the national labor market from January 1990 through April 2010.

Our office’s next quarterly economic and revenue forecast will be released next Tuesday, May 25th. Please stay tuned as we will provide updates next week regarding our most recent projections and expectations for the Oregon economy moving forward.


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  2. […] (Relatively small differences in assumed growth rates do compound over time) For example, here is a post from early 2010 – actually this blog’s first real post – indicating our belief that the return to […]

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