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Oregon Statewide Unemployment Rate May 2013
May 2013 State Unemployment Rate


Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Was 7.8 Percent in May, As Payroll Employment Rose for the Eighth Consecutive Month

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in May and 7.9 percent in April (as revised).

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 3,800 jobs in May. Large gains in construction (+1,600 jobs) and trade, transportation, and utilities (+900) were partially offset by a drop in manufacturing (-800). Revised estimates for April show a gain of 2,700 jobs, when a gain of 3,700 was initially reported.


May Labor Market Highlights

  • ·         Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in May. Oregon’s unemployment rate was last below 8 percent in October 2008.
  • ·         Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 3,800 jobs in May. It has increased for eight consecutive months.
  • ·         The construction sector grew the most; up 1,600 jobs.


The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that construction employment rose by 1,600 in May when a gain of only 300 is the normal seasonal movement. The construction employment estimates for recent months indicate that the industry ramped up hiring over the first five months of the year at the fastest pace in more than three years.

Seasonally adjusted construction employment reached 72,900 in May. This was well above its recent low of 67,200, which was reached in several months of 2010. Despite job gains in recent months, the industry remains far below it pre-recession high of 105,400 reached in mid-2007.

Seasonal Expectations and

Over-the-Month Employment Changes

April to May 2013


Normal Seasonal Movement

Unadjusted Change

Seasonally Adjusted Change

Total nonfarm payroll employment




Total private




Mining and logging












Trade, transportation, and utilities








Financial activities




Professional and business services




Educational and health services




Leisure and hospitality




Other services









Manufacturing was expected to add 1,600 jobs in May due to normal seasonal factors, but added only 800 instead. This subpar performance followed strong gains during the first four months of the year. The trend over the past three years has been one of gradual recovery.

Nondurable goods manufacturing added 600 jobs within food manufacturing in May. Nondurable goods employed nearly 50,000 in May, which was close to its levels for the time of year during the mid-2000s.

The BLS estimates that hiring in durable goods manufacturing was relatively quiet in May, with a drop of 200 jobs. All of the published components within durable goods saw virtually no change in employment for the month.

Economists with the BLS estimate that trade, transportation, and utilities added 3,000 jobs in May, at a time of year when a gain of 2,100 was expected due to seasonal factors. The industry is now about half-way back to the peak reached in early 2008, from its trough in early 2010. Employment totaled 318,800 in May, which was up 5,000 from May 2012.

Hours and Earnings
(Establishment Survey Data)

The average workweek for Oregon manufacturing production workers declined from 41.6 hours in April to 41.2 in May. Despite the one-month drop, the manufacturing workweek has been on a generally increasing trend for more than three years. In May 2012, this workweek averaged 39.9 hours.

In May, the average wage was $22.24 per hour for Oregon’s private-sector payroll employees, down from $22.39 in April. Wages have increased 13 cents, or 0.6 percent, from May 2012 when the average was $22.11.


(Household Survey Data)

The national unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in May and 7.5 percent in April, while Oregon’s rate was 7.8 percent in May and 7.9 percent in April. Oregon’s May rate was two-tenths of a percent above the national rate, the closest it has been since March 2008.

In May, 146,388 Oregonians were unemployed. This was 18,820 fewer individuals than in May 2012 when 165,208 Oregonians were unemployed.

Next Press Releases

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the May county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Monday, June 24th and the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for June on Tuesday, July 16th.

The Oregon Employment Department is publishing 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.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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