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Oregon November 2013 Statewide Unemployment Rate
Oregon Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.3 Percent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2013



David Cooke, Economist (503) 947-1272



Oregon Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.3 Percent

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent in November from 7.6 percent, as revised, in October. November marked Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate since September 2008, when the rate was 7.2 percent. Rapid declines in Oregon’s unemployment rate over the past three months have put Oregon’s rate closer to the national rate. The U.S. unemployment rate, which dropped to 7.0 percent in November, has also declined recently, but at a slightly slower pace.


Oregon’s unemployment rate is declining primarily because the number of unemployed is dropping. In November, there were 130,896 Oregonians unemployed compared with 156,298 a year earlier. This drop of 25,402 individuals has been good news for many families in the state and for many sectors of Oregon’s economy.


November Labor Market Highlights

                    Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 7.3 percent in November, the lowest since 7.2 percent in September 2008.

                    Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose 5,400, which was the 12th month of job gains out of the last 14 months.

                    Retail trade accelerated its hiring trend as food stores, auto dealers, and holiday hiring were all strong.


Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey Data)

Coupled with recent declines in Oregon’s unemployment rate, gains in nonfarm payrolls have accelerated. Seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose 5,400 in November, following an upwardly revised gain of 1,100 in October. Monthly job gains have been the norm for some time now, with gains occurring in 12 of the past 14 months. These payroll employment figures are estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).


Job gains in November were widespread among the major industries. Of the 11 major industries, all but two added jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis and none posted a loss of more than 300 jobs. Leading the way were trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,800 jobs) and professional and business services (+1,300).


Retail trade stood out for rapid job gains in November. The payroll employment numbers indicate strong demand for workers this year compared with recent years. Retail trade added 2,200 jobs above normal seasonal expectations in November. Although employment levels this year are below the peak reached in late 2007, hiring trends have accelerated in recent months.


In November, retail employed 201,500, which was 5,900 above November 2012. Most published categories within retail were above their comparable figure from last year. Motor vehicle and parts dealers added 1,200 over the year to employ 23,500 in November, which was its highest November since 2008, but still roughly 4,000 below its recent peak in 2007. Nationally, auto sales have been strong, with pickup sales leading the way. Building material and garden supply stores also added 1,200 over the past 12 months. The food and beverage stores industry added 1,800, and at 40,900 in November, was at an all-time record level.


Construction continued to surge ahead, adding 500 on a seasonally adjusted basis in November, following a gain of 700 the prior month. Over the year, it expanded the fastest of all the major industries, having grown 11.8 percent, or 8,100 jobs, since November 2012. As we look forward to the spring and early summer, this uptrend in construction activity, should it continue, bodes well for workers with construction skills who have been out of the industry due to low demand for residential construction in recent years.


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 33.5 hours in November and 33.6 hours in October. In November 2012, the average was 33.2 hours.


In November, the average wage was $22.72 per hour for Oregon’s private-sector payroll employees, up from $22.68 in October. Wages have increased 43 cents, or 1.9 percent, from November 2012 when the average was $22.29. 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 November county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Monday, December 23rd and the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for December on Wednesday, January 22nd.


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 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. 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


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