Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Essentially Unchanged at 8.4 Percent in January, Payroll Employment Grew by 4,200
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 8.4 percent, essentially unchanged from 8.3 percent in December. The January 2012 unemployment rate was 9.0 percent.
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 4,200 jobs in January. The private sector added 5,000 jobs over the month, while the public sector declined by 800.
Revised estimates for December show a gain of 1,200 jobs, when a gain of 2,000 was initially reported. Downward revisions were largest in trade, transportation, and utilities.
At the time of this press release, the Oregon Employment Department is also releasing the annual revisions to the prior two years’ data. These revised numbers show that the jobs picture looked a little better in late 2011 and throughout 2012 than originally estimated. For the 2011 annual average, payroll employment was revised upward by 2,100 jobs or 0.1 percent. The 2012 annual average was revised upward by 6,500 or 0.4 percent, with the largest revisions occurring in professional and business services (revised upward by 7,500 jobs or 4.0%), manufacturing (+3,500 or 2.1%), and financial activities (revised downward by 3,100 jobs or 3.3%).
The newly revised payroll employment numbers show that, as was originally reported, Oregon’s economy added jobs slowly and steadily for the past three years.
Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 17,200 jobs, or 1.1 percent, in the 12 months ending with January 2013. Oregon’s job growth was nearly identical for the prior year, at 1.0 percent for the 12 months ending in January 2012, and 1.3 percent for the comparable period ending in January 2011.
A closer look at the January 2013 seasonally adjusted payroll employment figures shows that monthly gains of over 1,000 jobs in three major industries were only partially offset by modest losses in two major industries.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that financial activities added the most jobs of the major industry sectors. In January, it grew by 800 jobs when a loss of 1,500 was the normal seasonal movement.
Prior to January, financial activities had experienced severe job losses throughout most of the prior six years. Employment peaked at more than 107,000 jobs in 2007, then fell rapidly during the recession of 2008 and early 2009. Then for the next three years, financial activities employment in Oregon continued to decline, but at a slower rate, reaching below 90,000 jobs during parts of 2012.
Manufacturing was expected to cut 2,900 jobs in January due to normal seasonal factors, but only shed 1,500. This better-than-expected reading put manufacturing back on track of its moderate recovery seen during the prior three years. Seasonally adjusted employment in manufacturing stood at 173,000 in January, which was well above its low point of 162,100 seen in late 2009.
Looking at the component manufacturing industries, many have expanded since January 2012, including wood products (+900 jobs), primary metals (+300), fabricated metals (+600), machinery (+400), transportation equipment (+500), and nondurable goods (+300).
Economists with the BLS estimate that leisure and hospitality cut 3,200 jobs in January, at a time of year when a loss of 4,200 jobs was expected due to seasonal factors. This industry is highly seasonal, with the low point for the year typically occurring in January. Peak employment, typically reached in July of each year, can be 15,000 to 20,000 jobs higher than the winter low point.
After factoring out the normal seasonal swings, leisure and hospitality has been on an expansionary path for nearly three years. One of its component industries — arts, entertainment, and recreation — employed 19,500 in January, and is still more than 2,000 jobs below its peak January employment reached in 2008. However, the larger component industry — accommodation and food services — is nearly back to its highest January employment level ever. Its January 2013 employment was 143,400, while January 2008 accounted for 144,200 Oregon Jobs, as these hotels and restaurants have been adding workers since early 2010.
The BLS estimates that government cut 4,100 jobs in January when a loss of 3,300 is the normal seasonal pattern for the month. This worse-than-expected showing continued the declining trend seen over the past several months. Over the past 12 months, however, government employment is only down 200 jobs, with federal government shedding 400, local government down 100, and state government adding 300, with the added jobs coming in the state education sector.
Construction employment cut 4,900 jobs in January, when a loss of 4,400 is the normal seasonal pattern for the month. Despite gains in Oregon residential construction permits during much of 2012, construction employment dropped, declining 2,600 jobs since January 2012. Nearly all of the jobs losses over this 12-month period have come from specialty trade contractors, which is down 2,500 since January 2012. Firms in this category include electrical, plumbing, and drywall contractors.
One of the component industries within specialty trade contractors is building equipment contractors, which has cut 1,600 during that time. The recent job losses in construction have put the industry close to its lowest level since 1995. Only January 2011, at 62,100 jobs, was lower than the January 2013 figure of 62,400.
The BLS estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. These preliminary estimates are subject to revision.
(Household Survey Data)
The national unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in January and 7.8 percent in December, while Oregon’s rate was 8.4 percent in January and 8.3 percent in December.
During the past three and a half years, Oregon’s unemployment rate has been gradually declining. The high was reached in May and June 2009 when Oregon’s unemployment rate was 11.6 percent.
In January, 182,994 Oregonians were unemployed. This was 7,707 fewer individuals than in January 2012 when 190,701 Oregonians were unemployed.
Effective with the release of January 2013 data, unadjusted and seasonally adjusted Oregon labor force data from 2008 to 2012 were revised as part of the usual annual processing. These data include the number of Oregonians unemployed, the unemployment rate, and the employed.
Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the January county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Friday, March 8th and the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for February on Tuesday, March 19th.
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.
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