FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 22, 2014
David Cooke, Economist (503) 947-1272
Oregon Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.0 Percent
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 7.0 percent in December from 7.3 percent in November. December marked Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate since August 2008, when the rate was 6.7 percent.
In December, Oregon's unemployment rate fell as more people were able to find jobs and there were fewer unemployed. There were nearly 132,000 Oregonians unemployed compared with approximately 160,000 a year earlier. This drop of more than 28,000 individuals since December 2012 was good news for many families in the state and for many sectors of Oregon’s economy.
Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey Data)
Oregon’s job growth in 2013 was much stronger than in the prior two years. In 2013, 37,700 jobs were added, compared with 22,000 in 2012 and 18,400 in 2011.
In recent months the pace of expansion has accelerated. Seasonally adjusted payroll employment rose 4,400 in December, following a revised gain of 4,300 in November. Monthly gains have been the norm for some time now, with gains occurring in 13 of the past 15 months. These payroll employment figures are estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Job gains in December were concentrated in three of the 11 major industries: professional and business services (+1,600 jobs), government (+1,200) and other services (+900).
Professional and business services grew rapidly in December and throughout last year. The sector gained 7,500 jobs, or 3.8 percent, since December 2012, to grow faster than any major industry other than construction. It reached another all-time high in December, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Each of its three component industries (professional and technical services, management of companies and enterprises, and administrative and waste services) expanded rapidly over the past three years.
The standout industry was professional and technical services, which employed a total of 82,200 jobs in December. This industry includes legal services, architectural and engineering services, and computer systems design.
Government cut only 1,700 jobs in December, during a month when a loss of 2,900 is expected due to seasonal factors. State government was close to a record high as it employed 82,700 in December, a gain of 1,200 in 12 months. State education was up 600 jobs in that time, as was the balance of state government. Meanwhile, local government employed only 183,800 in December, which was its lowest December figure in nine years. All three components of local government (local education, Indian tribal, and other local government) were below year-ago figures.
Other services added 400 jobs when a loss of 500 is the normal seasonal movement for December. According to the BLS estimates, employment growth accelerated over the last three years. The industry added more than 2,000 jobs in 2013, which was equal to a growth rate of 3.7 percent. Other services is a major industry group comprised of component industries including repair and maintenance; personal and laundry services; and membership associations.
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’s private-sector payroll employees was 34.0 hours in December and 33.5 hours in November. In December 2012, the average was 34.1 hours.
In December, the average wage was $23.15 per hour for Oregon’s private-sector payroll employees, up from $22.83 in November. Wages have increased 50 cents, or 2.2 percent, from December 2012 when the average was $22.65. These wage gains indicate that hourly earnings power is rising at close to the rate of overall consumer price inflation.
Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the December county and metropolitan area unemployment rates and employment data on Monday, January 27th and the statewide data for January on Tuesday, March 4th.
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, use the new data series unless noted otherwise. The department continues 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 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 November 19th, the second-quarter 2013 tax records data was used to update the official Oregon series. At this time, data were revised back to January 2013 to incorporate the new second-quarter data as well as updated first-quarter data. On March 4, 2014 the third-quarter 2013 tax records data will be incorporated into both the official Oregon series and the official BLS series data. 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