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Oregon's statewide unemployment rate for August 2011
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.6 percent in August, essentially unchanged from 9.5 percent in July. Meanwhile, the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in August as well as July.
Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey Data)
In August, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted payroll employment rose by 800, following a revised loss of 3,300 jobs in July. Most of the major industries performed close to seasonal expectations. The two exceptions were construction, which cut 1,600 jobs, and professional and business services, which added 1,600.
The July numbers were revised downward substantially. In last month’s press release, the July figure was pegged as a gain of 300 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. As is done every month, the employment estimates are revised based on additional survey responses from businesses, including those who reported after the initial estimates were made. The latest estimates show a loss of 3,300 jobs for July’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm payroll employment. Downward revisions were concentrated in government, as both local government and state government were each revised downward. State government was revised downward by 1,800 jobs, while local government was revised downward by 1,300.
Construction added only 700 jobs in August, when a gain of 2,300 is the normal seasonal movement. This put construction employment at 74,700, which was 2,200 jobs above its level in August 2010. Since February, construction employment has essentially tracked closely with its normal seasonal pattern. Although the industry is up somewhat from its recent lows late last year, the industry is still close to its lowest employment levels since 1995.
Professional and business services added 2,000 jobs in August, when a gain of only 400 is the normal seasonal change. This major industry has expanded throughout most of the economic recovery period of the past two years. It is up 4,700 jobs over the past 12 months, a growth rate of 2.5 percent. A closely watched component industry, employment services, shot up 1,900 jobs to reach 34,600 in August, which was its highest level since October 2008 when it employed 36,000. Employment services added 1,100 jobs over the past 12 months.
Government performed close to its normal pattern in August, losing 1,100 jobs, when a loss of 1,500 is expected for the month. The latest figures show severe job losses in local government education. In August, local government education stood at 74,800 jobs, which was 5,500 jobs or 6.8 percent below the August 2010 total. Meanwhile, state government education employed 1,500 more than one year ago, totaling 26,300 in August.

Hours and Earnings
(Establishment Survey Data)
The average workweek for Oregon manufacturing production workers was 39.4 hours in August, a gain from 38.9 in July. This measure of the workweek has generally trended higher over the past two years and is up from the August 2010 figure of 39.1 hours.
Average earnings of all private-sector payroll employees in Oregon dipped to $21.54 per hour in August from $21.66 in July. The August figure was up 7 cents per hour, or 0.3 percent, from August 2010.
(Household Survey Data)
The national unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in both July and August. Oregon’s August rate of 9.6 percent was 0.5 percentage point above the U.S. rate. The difference between the Oregon and the U.S. unemployment rates was not statistically significant.
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has risen by a tenth of a percentage point in each of the past three months. This follows a period of rapid declines during the first five months of the year when Oregon’s rate dropped from 10.6 percent in December 2010 to the recent low of 9.3 percent in May. Prior to that, the rate had been declining more slowly, since reaching a recent high of 11.6 percent in both May and June 2009.
In August, 188,425 Oregonians were unemployed. This is 21,575 fewer individuals than in August 2010 when 210,000 Oregonians were unemployed.

Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the August county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Monday, September 19th and the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for September on Tuesday, October 18th.

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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