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August 2013 Statewide Unemployment Rate
Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Was 8.1 Percent in August, As Payrolls Expanded by 4,500 Jobs
9/17/2013
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in August, essentially unchanged from 8.0 percent in July.

Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey Data)
On a seasonally adjusted basis, preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate nonfarm payroll employment in Oregon rose by 4,500 in August, following a revised loss of 1,100 in July.

Over the past 12 months, seasonally adjusted employment numbers show that the private sector has added 37,000 jobs, or 2.7 percent. Meanwhile, government has cut 6,300 jobs or 2.2 percent. In that time, six of the major private-sector industry categories have each expanded by between 2.3 and 3.5 percent.

This breadth of steadily expanding industries is evidence of broad-based economic expansion in Oregon. In addition, leisure and hospitality has grown even more rapidly, by expanding 10,300 jobs, or 6.0 percent. Over that period, the only private-sector industry to decline was financial activities, which shed 1,000 jobs, or 1.1 percent.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that, in August, seasonally adjusted gains were seen in seven of the major industries. Educational and health services experienced the largest such gain as it added 2,500 jobs. Manufacturing added 1,200, while five other major industries each added between 400 and 700. The only major industries showing substantial declines were financial activities (-1,300) and trade, transportation, and utilities (-600).

The payroll employment figures for July were revised downward by 2,000 jobs. What was originally estimated by BLS as a seasonally adjusted gain of 900 jobs, was later revised to a loss of 1,100. This one-month job loss ended the string of nine consecutive months of job gains in Oregon. For the July data, five of the major industries were each revised downward by close to 500, while only one major industry was revised upward substantially; that industry was educational and health services, which was revised upward by 600 jobs.

Turning back to the August employment figures, educational and health services added 2,400 jobs during a month that normally shows a nearly flat seasonal pattern.  Hospitals added 1,200, largely the result of a major new hospital opening in the Hillsboro area. Other industries also boosted hiring: ambulatory health care services (+600 jobs), nursing and residential care facilities (+400), and social assistance (+400). The latest employment figures indicate that health care and social assistance has accelerated its pace of hiring. Over the past four calendar years, the industry added an average of 3,700 jobs per year. But during the latest 12 months it has added 5,600 jobs.

Manufacturing is likely to have reached its high point of the year, because July and August are normally the peak months as food processing and other industries are experiencing their busiest time of year. In August, manufacturing added 1,200 jobs, when no gain from July is expected due to seasonal factors. Durable goods manufacturing added 800, with its component industry of transportation equipment manufacturing, advancing 700. Durable goods manufacturing has seen steady and slow growth since early 2010. The industry employed 126,300 in August, but is still well below its pre-recession peak of 156,900 reached in August 2006. At 53,500 jobs in August, nondurable goods manufacturing was close to its August readings of the prior two years.

Meanwhile, economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that construction ramped up employment by 2,500 in August, at a time of year when a gain of 2,000 is expected due to seasonal factors. Specialty trade contractors, which added a net 1,700 workers, accounted for the bulk of the monthly gains. At a total of 78,100 jobs in August, this marked construction’s highest August total since 2008, when 98,600 were employed.

The BLS estimates that leisure and hospitality continued to expand, reaching another record high. It added 1,500 jobs in August when a gain of only 800 was expected due to seasonal factors. At a total of 190,300 jobs, this major industry accounted for 13.6 percent, or nearly one in seven, of all private-sector jobs.

Financial activities shed the most jobs of the major industries as it cut 1,000 jobs when a gain of 300 is the norm for August. The BLS has estimated steep job losses in recent months, after an apparent uptrend for the first half or the year appeared to be evident. Financial activities employed 90,100 in August, which was 1,200 below its August 2012 figure and well below the 107,000 reached in mid-2007. Unlike most other private-sector major industries in Oregon’s economy, financial activities has shown essentially no net recovery over the past six years. With mortgage rates rising since May and the concomitant diminished volume of residential mortgage refinancing, national reports have indicated layoffs at major mortgage originators.

The BLS estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. These preliminary estimates are subject to later revision.

Hours and Earnings
(Establishment Survey Data)
The average workweek for Oregon manufacturing production workers rose from 40.3 hours in July to 41.1 in August. The manufacturing workweek has been on a generally increasing trend for four years. In August 2012, this workweek averaged 40.1 hours.
 
In August, the average wage was $22.36 per hour for Oregon’s private-sector payroll employees, up slightly from $22.34 in July. Wages have increased 44 cents, or 2.0 percent, from August 2012 when the average was $21.92.

Unemployment
(Household Survey Data)
The national unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in August and 7.4 percent in July. Oregon’s rate was 8.1 percent in August, essentially unchanged from 8.0 percent in July.

In August, 150,259 Oregonians were unemployed. This was 20,067 fewer individuals than in August 2012 when 170,326 Oregonians were unemployed.

One defining trend of the recent economic recovery has been a rapidly declining labor force participation rate. In August, this measure of the number of unemployed plus employed as a share of the civilian non-institutional population reached a record low.

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted labor force participation rate dropped to 61.4 percent in August. This was the lowest of any month in the data series which starts in January 1976.

Issues relating to the declines in this metric are discussed in a recent report produced by the Oregon Employment Department’s Workforce and Economic Analysis Division.

Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the August county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Monday, September 23rd and the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for September on Tuesday, October 15th.

The Oregon Employment Department published a new data series with the release of April nonfarm payroll employment estimates. This official Oregon series is revised quarterly by using employment counts from employer tax records. All department publications, such as news releases, monthly Oregon Labor Trends and local labor trends, will use the new data series unless noted otherwise.

The department will continue to make the original nonfarm payroll employment data series available. These data are produced by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and are revised annually.
 
Analysts at the Oregon Employment Department will use employer tax records as soon as they become available each quarter to adjust the official Oregon series. This revision resets the monthly estimates to the correct level and should reduce the drift that can occur with estimates that are revised annually. On August 13th, the first quarter 2013 tax records data was used to update the official Oregon series. At this time, data were revised back to April 2012 to incorporate the new first-quarter data as well as annual industry code changes.

Both the official Oregon series and the official BLS series are available on the department’s website, QualityInfo.org.

For many years, monthly employment estimates for Oregon and its metropolitan areas were developed by Oregon Employment Department economists.

In March 2011, responsibility for the monthly employment estimates for Oregon and its metropolitan areas shifted to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The estimates developed by BLS are more heavily dependent on the sample of businesses and less reliant on knowledge of local economic events. They are also likely to demonstrate increased month-to-month variability.

Comments or questions should be directed to Graham Slater, Administrator of the Oregon Employment Department's Workforce and Economic Research Division, at (503) 947-1212.

For the complete version of the news release, including tables and graphs, visit: www.QualityInfo.org/pressrelease.

If you need this release in the Spanish language, please contact Loretta Gallegos at 503-947-1794.

For help finding jobs and training resources, visit one of the state's WorkSource Oregon Centers or go to: www.WorkSourceOregon.org.

Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities