Posted by: Josh Lehner | March 9, 2021

Oregon Employment, January 2021

This morning the Oregon Employment Department released the latest employment report. The good news is jobs rebounded in January, following losses in December. More importantly from a data perspective we also got the annual benchmark revisions as well. Big picture, not many changes to the topline data. The strength of the initial recovery last summer is a bit better than initial estimates showed and the unemployment rate wasn’t quite as bad either. But in terms of where we are today in the latest data versus where we thought we were yesterday before the revised data was published, not much to note in the big picture.

There were some changes at the industry level. Most encouraging were the positive revisions for manufacturing (nondurables more than durables, but both are up). We’ll dig into the sector details more next week when the February data is released — it’s always a bit of a compressed release schedule to start the year due to the revisions pushing back state and local data releases. Even with the all industry changes, the big picture look at employment by wage level looks pretty similar. Workers in low-wage, in-person service industries have and continue to bear the brunt of the recession. (Note: After the discussion last month, Opportunity Insights has removed their Oregon employment data by wage tiers.)

Lastly, just a quick update on regional employment across the state. Here, too, the revisions were positive. The initial severity of the recession has a little less bad than the preliminary estimates indicated, and the growth since has been a bit better as well. The largest revisions at the local level were seen down in the Rogue Valley, which despite the severe fires last year is the strongest regional economy in the state. The more tourism-dependent regions like the North Coast, Gorge, and Central Oregon have rebounded the strongest and are now average or a bit above average in terms of employment. Portland continues to see the slowest rebound in large part due to the lack of business travel and working from home.

Stay tuned, we’ll have more on the strong economic outlook later this week.


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