In August, Oregon's nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 9,500 jobs, following a revised gain of 7,400 in July. This was the first decline in seven months, dating back to January when employment dropped by 1,300.
The August jobs report indicates that Oregon's over-the-year job growth, while strong, has slowed. Between August 2016 and August 2017, payroll employment expanded by 44,600 jobs, or 2.4 percent. This is a reduction from the 3.1 percent job-growth rate seen through July.
"August's job losses were an unusually sharp departure from months of very large job gains," said Nick Beleiciks, Oregon's state employment economist. "But looking past recent gains and losses, Oregon's over-the-year job growth continues to be very good."
The decline in August was concentrated in four of the 14 broad industry groups: leisure and hospitality (-3,600 jobs), government (-3,200), financial activities (-1,300), and wholesale trade ( 1,300). None of the major industries added more than 400 jobs.
The drop in leisure and hospitality came on the heels of unusually strong hiring in June and July. The industry's employment of 206,800 in August is back on the trend line established during the prior 18 months. These restaurants, hotels, and other entertainment establishments now employ 7,100 more workers than in August 2016, an increase of 3.6 percent in the past 12 months.
Similarly, the August government job loss offset the robust hiring in the spring and early summer: While 3,200 jobs were cut in August, 3,500 jobs were added during the prior three months.
Oregon's unemployment rate rose to 4.1 percent in August from 3.8 percent in July. The rate remained near its all time low of 3.6 percent reached in May. Oregon's rate was significantly below its year-ago rate of 5.0 percent in August 2016. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in August 2017.
These preliminary estimates of jobs and other labor force data are produced in cooperation with the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, are based largely on a survey of businesses and a survey of households, and are subject to later revision.