Posted by: Josh Lehner | November 16, 2011

Oregon Employment, October 2011

  • October employment increased 800 jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 9.5%
  • Revisions to September were large and encouraging as the month went from a loss of 600 to a gain of 2,700 jobs
  • 2011Q3 still looks identical to 2011Q2 (flat)

The October preliminary employment figures were released this morning by the Oregon Employment Department and show Oregon employment increased 800 jobs last month. The industry mix revealed the Private Sector actually losing 600 jobs, its first loss since March, while the Public Sector gained 1,400 jobs (2,100 in Local while Federal and State were down 300 and 400 respectively). Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (-1,900) and Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (-1,800) saw the largest industry declines while Retail Trade (+1,800), Professional and Technical Services (+1,400) and Local Government (+2,100) saw the largest gains.These industry patterns appear to be reflecting some quirky seasonal factors. Nondurable Goods’ seasonal patterns have changed this past year as the state’s food processors have gained additional business and the Local Government Education industry’s strong gains the past two months reflect more on the challenges in estimating school teachers during the summer months as opposed to actual strong hirings in the past 60 days.

Comments are brief today as our office is finalizing the forthcoming December Economic and Revenue Forecast which will be released tomorrow morning at 8 am. Below are a few graphs illustrating recent Oregon employment data.

Employment growth since January 2010 in Oregon has totaled 32,400 or 2.03 percent while gains at the U.S. level have totaled 2.24 million or 1.73 percent.

One important employment gauge this time of year is seasonal hiring in the retail industry. Seasonal hirings are typically indicative of the strength of consumer spending during the holiday season. The National Retail Federation is projecting increases in holiday sales of 2.8%, somewhat higher than the historic average of 2.6% however less than the 5.2% growth seen in 2010. Other private firms are forecasting slightly higher growth. For example, IHS Global Insight projects 4.2% growth in November and December. In Oregon, retail employment increased 2,400 from September to October on a non-seasonally adjusted (nsa) basis. This is slightly lower than last year’s gain of 2,900 in October 2010, however this gain is right in line with gains Oregon saw during the 1990s and in the early to mid 2000s.  For more information on seasonal hirings in Oregon, please see this Oregon Employment Department article from September.

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