Oregon Continues Losing Jobs

In September, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 3,800 jobs, following a revised loss of 7,000 in August. These job losses followed rapid gains during February through July, when a total of 42,600 jobs were added in just six months.

Recent forest fires did not have a noticeable impact on the September jobs report. Although many individuals and businesses were impacted in September by forest fires that raged in many locations within Oregon, the industry employment totals did not appear to be impacted significantly. A job is counted in this report when a worker is employed for any part of the business’s pay period that includes the 12th of the month. Workers able to return to work during the September pay period are counted in the jobs report.

In September, four industries cut more than 1,000 jobs, while two added more than 1,000. Leisure and hospitality (-3,700 jobs) cut the most as this industry returned to the long-term trend line after a spike upward in June and July. With vacancy surveys indicating that many firms are having trouble attracting workers, part of the weakness in hiring is likely due to the tight labor market.

Professional and business services (-3,100 jobs) cut back at a time of year when a flat trend is typical for the industry. The industry appears to have stalled from its upward trajectory over the past eight years. Each of its published component industries cut jobs since September 2016: employment services (-1,400 jobs), business support services (-400), and services to buildings and dwellings ( 1,500). The two other industries that cut substantially in September were private educational services ( 1,400 jobs) and other services (-1,200).

All was not lost in September, as construction added 2,900 jobs and government added 1,400.

The September jobs report indicates that Oregon’s over-the-year job growth, while moderate, has slowed. Between September 2016 and September 2017, payroll employment expanded by 37,400 jobs, or 2.0 percent. This is a reduction from the 3.1 percent job-growth rate seen through July. In the past 12 months, several industries continued to add jobs at a rapid clip, such as construction (+11,600 jobs, or 12.7%); health care and social assistance (+8,500 jobs, or 3.7%); and manufacturing (+5,700 jobs, or 3.0%). However, many of Oregon’s industries haven’t experienced the same rapid growth over the past 12 months, including government; professional and business services; wholesale trade; information; other services; and logging.

Oregon’s unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 4.2 percent in September from 4.1 percent in August. Oregon’s rate was significantly below its year-ago rate of 4.9 percent in September 2016. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in September 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.

Source: Oregon Employment Department


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