Posted by: Josh Lehner | October 23, 2012

Oregon Employment Benchmark Update

Still at the conference but the Employment Department posted the latest QCEW for 2012q2 online the other day. That means it is time to update our office’s prelimenary, unofficial benchmark for Oregon employment. This is a subject of heavy discussion among the states here (about 35 out of the 50 states have representatives) and many states realize that the next round of benchmarks, released in March 2013, will be significantly up. The average state will see revisions that are nearly double that of the national revisions, as discussed previously. In Oregon the latest figures continue to show that the state is expanding in-line with the national economy, or the average state. This recovery, while lackluster, has continued to be slow and steady, with a rather consistent trend over the past two and a half years.

The graphs below illustrate the unofficial, preliminary benchmark estimates for many private sector industries in Oregon. The overall story at the industry level is the same at the top line level: slow and steady improvements across the board with only a few industries bucking this trend. In terms of some of the goods producing industries both Natural Resources and Manufacturing are continuing to expand and their revisions will be upward. Construction is unlikely to be revised much from the currently published data; while Wholesale is expected to be revised downward, the growth trend is steady and encouraging.

Professional and Business Services continues to exhibit good growth and the industry is nearing a return to pre-recession levels. Financial Activities are unlikely to be revised much through Q2 however the strong growth in recent months can neither be confirmed nor denied by the QCEW data at the moment. The bulk of this industry’s decline in the recession was in the Real Estate component and less so on the banking side.

In terms of other service type jobs, their expected revisions can be seen below.

According to BLS, the 2012q2 data for all states will not be officially released until January 8, 2013 so it will be quite a bit more time until I can examine all the other states again.


  1. Thank you, Josh, for sharing this analysis. It is very informative.

  2. Interesting. What is the scale (y-axis) for the individual industry charts?

    • Apologies that those are not labeled nor mentioned! The y-axis is thousands of jobs. Taking the first graph for Natural Resources as an example, in 2005 there were approximately 9,500 jobs in the industry while during the depths of the recession there were about 6,500 jobs.

      • Thanks for the clarification!

  3. […] once per year, so is the local county and metro level data. Using the same general process as the Oregon preliminary benchmark and other state benchmark estimates discussed before, yields an estimate of how the various regions […]

  4. […] the state level employment estimate issues that affect both Oregon and nearly all states since BLS retook control of the estimates back in 2011, it can be difficult to […]

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