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Oregon Statewide Unemployment Rate - April 2011
5/17/2011
Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 9.6 Percent in April
CONTACT:  David Cooke, Economist
(503) 947-1272
david.c.cooke@state.or.us  
 
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 9.6 percent in April from 9.9 percent (as revised) in March.

In contrast, the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 9.0 percent in April from 8.8 percent in March.

Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey Data)
In April, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment added 1,600, following a loss of 2,000 in March. Continuing the trend of the past year or so, a diverse group of major industries have been adding jobs. Since April 2010, only two of the major industries have declined, with financial activities and government each shedding slightly more than 1 percent.

Manufacturing added 700 jobs in April, when a loss of 500 is the normal seasonal movement. Semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing added 200 jobs in April and is up
1,300 since April 2010. At 26,900 in April, it is still well below the approximate 30,000 the industry employed throughout much of 2003 through 2007.

Machinery manufacturing has rebounded off its low of 9,200 in January 2010. It has added 300 jobs so far this year and employed 10,300 in April. Similarly, fabricated metal product manufacturing expanded its employment from a low of 13,300 in January 2010, reaching 14,200 in April. In contrast, wood product manufacturing continues to edge lower, losing 100 jobs in April to tie its low for the year at 18,700.

 
Seasonal Expectations and
Over-the-Month Employment Changes 
March to April 2011
INDUSTRY
Normal Seasonal Movement
Unadjusted Change
Seasonally Adjusted Change
Total nonfarm payroll employment
8,400
10,000
1,600
Total private
7,800
10,300
2,500
Mining and logging
200
100
-100
Construction
2,300
2,700
400
Manufacturing
-500
700
1,200
Trade, transportation, and utilities
1,800
2,000
200
Information
0
-100
-100
Financial activities
1,000
-300
-1,300
Professional and business services
1,500
-500
-2,000
Educational and health services
-100
1,300
1,400
Leisure and hospitality
1,600
4,700
3,100
Other services
0
-300
-300
Government
600
-300
-900
 
Leisure and hospitality posted an impressive gain of 4,700 jobs in April, at a time of year when the addition of 1,600 is the normal seasonal movement. Arts, entertainment, and recreation leaped upward by 1,600 jobs in April, and is up 2,500 since April 2010. It reached its highest April level on record, at 24,200.
 
Accommodation and food services has been on a modest employment expansion since early 2010. In April, it added 3,100 jobs as it heads toward its busy summer season. It is up 2.0 percent in the past 12 months.
 
Professional and business services was revised downward by 800 jobs for March, then posted a decline of 500 jobs in April. Thus the payroll employment data paint a much less rosy view of this large sector’s economic trend than in the last Oregon employment press release. The latest numbers indicate moderate expansion, at just over a 2 percent annual growth rate throughout much of the past year and a half. Computer systems design has been one of the growing components; it added 100 to reach 10,100 in April, and is up 400 over the year.
 
Professional and technical services added 300 jobs in April, and the sector is up 2,800 over the past 12 months. Some of its component industries are no doubt expanding, but two of its published components have shrunk over the past 12 months: legal services (-100 jobs) and architectural and engineering services (-300).
 
The closely watched employment services had a disappointing month, shedding 900 jobs. The industry showed modest gains of 400 over the year.
 
Hours and Earnings
(Establishment Survey Data)
The average workweek for Oregon’s manufacturing production workers was 39.7 hours in April, a spike upward from 38.8 in March. This measure of the workweek has been erratically trending higher over the past two years.
 
Average earnings of all private-sector payroll employees in Oregon edged down to $21.65 per hour in April from $21.68 in March. This measure of earnings has shown a longer-term trend of steady gains over the past four years, since 2007 when the annual average was $20.61.

Unemployment
(Household Survey Data)
The national unemployment rate edged up to 9.0 percent in April from 8.8 percent in March. Oregon’s April rate of 9.6 percent sits 0.6 percentage point above the U.S. rate. This is the closest that Oregon has been to the U.S. since August 2008, when Oregon was also 0.6 percentage point above the U.S. At that time, Oregon’s rate was 6.7 percent, while the U.S. rate was 6.1 percent.
 
April marked Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate in 28 months. Oregon’s rate has not been lower since December 2008, when the rate was 9.2 percent.
 
Seasonally adjusted employment, as measured by the household survey, has risen rapidly over the past eight months. This measure of employment reached 1,805,257 in April, a gain of nearly 35,000 individuals since August.
 
In April, 188,020 Oregonians were unemployed.
 
Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the April county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, May 24th and the statewide rate and employment survey data for May on Tuesday, June 14th.
 
Change to Monthly Employment Estimates
For many years, monthly employment estimates for Oregon and its metropolitan areas have been developed by economists and analysts with the Oregon Employment Department. These estimates were based on a small monthly survey of Oregon businesses and these economists' extensive knowledge about their local economies. Starting with the employment data for March 2011, responsibility for these estimates has shifted to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The estimates developed by BLS will be more heavily dependent on the sample of businesses and less reliant on knowledge of local economic events. This change could result in increased month to-month variability for the industry employment numbers, particularly for Oregon's smaller metropolitan areas. 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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Oregon Unemployment and Employment Situation
Click here to view .pdf of full press release