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Oregon January 2014 Statewide Unemployment Rate
Broad-Based Job Growth Brings Oregon Unemployment Rate Down
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 7.0 percent in January, compared with 7.1 percent in December. The rate was substantially down from its January 2013 level of 8.3 percent. Oregon’s unemployment rate has been trending downward over the past four and a half years.

The number of Oregonians who were unemployed in January was down by 30,526 over the year as more people found jobs. The number unemployed in January was 148,830, down from 179,356 in January 2013.

Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey Data)
In January, employment gains were modest. Seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment grew by 1,000. Construction (+1,700 jobs) and leisure and hospitality (+1,100) were the only major industries that added more than 1,000 jobs, while government (-1,500) was the only major industry to cut more than 1,000. These payroll employment figures are estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

While January's gains were weak, employment growth over the past 12 months was very strong. Since January 2013, seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment is up 43,800 jobs, or 2.6 percent. The last time jobs were growing faster than the 2.6 percent pace of the most recent 12 months was during July 2004 through October 2006, when jobs were expanding at a 3.0 percent annual pace. Those gains were still a percentage point lower than Oregon’s booming economy during 1993 through 1997 when annual job gains were close to 4.0 percent.

The gains during the past 12 months have been broad based, with all but one of the major industries expanding. The major industries with the largest percent job gains were construction (+9.4%), leisure and hospitality (+4.5%), and professional and business services (+4.3%). The only industry to decline was financial activities (-0.9%).

Construction is enjoying a stronger winter season than during any of the past four years. Seasonally adjusted employment rose to 77,000, which was well above the 68,700 recorded in January 2010. As demand for residential housing construction has improved, the construction industry is approaching employment levels seen during the early 2000s.

Leisure and hospitality is booming. It is up 7,800 jobs, or 4.5 percent in the past 12 months. At 181,300 seasonally adjusted jobs in January, this industry is at a record employment level and has well surpassed its pre-recession record of 175,100 in March 2008. Many of these job gains have come within the full-service restaurants industry, which has added 3,100 jobs since January 2013.

Professional and business services added 8,900 jobs, or 4.3 percent, on a seasonally adjusted basis over the past 12 months. This industry is seeing strong demand for employees in computer systems design, management of companies, employment services, and services to buildings and dwellings. Each of these component industries has added 1,400 jobs or more since January 2013.

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

Other Labor Force Indicators
Due to popular demand, we are adding two labor market indicators near the top of the table at the end of the monthly press release.

The labor force participation rate measures the number of people who are employed or unemployed as a share of the civilian noninstitutional population.

Oregon’s labor force participation rate was 61.2 percent in January and has been relatively stable over the last five months, following a rapidly declining trend during the prior four years.

The “U-6” measure of labor underutilization includes the unemployed plus marginally attached workers plus those falling into the category “part-time workers for economic reasons.” Individuals who are marginally attached to the labor force are those who were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey. Persons employed part time for economic reasons were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full time work.  The U-6 rate captures a broader measure of economic hardship than the unemployment rate alone.

Oregon’s U-6 was 15.9 percent in January. Although this measure is well below its peak of 21.0 percent in June 2009, it has been close to 16.0 percent for the past 12 months. U-6 remains stubbornly high because the number of part-time workers hasn’t fallen much. The latest estimate for the number of workers employed part time for economic reasons is still high by historic standards, numbering close to 150,000 in January. This tally is down only marginally from its high point of close to 163,000 in the middle of 2009.

Unemployment Rate by Demographics
Unemployment rates of the largest demographic groups in Oregon fell during 2013, according to newly released annual average rates by sex, race and ethnicity. Even so, rates for blacks and Hispanics remain high.  BLS releases these figures once a year. The figures are published only as an annual average.

Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the January county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Monday, March 10th and the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for February on Tuesday, March 18th.

The Oregon Employment Department is responsible for releasing Oregon’s monthly payroll employment and labor force data. The data are prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The BLS estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other inputs.

The Oregon Employment Department publishes payroll employment estimates that are revised quarterly by using employment counts from employer unemployment insurance tax records. All department publications use this official Oregon series data unless noted otherwise. The department continues to make the original nonfarm payroll employment series available; these data are produced by the BLS and are revised annually.

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 Starlin Moran 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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