|CONTACT : David Cooke, Economist
|February Labor Market Highlights
• Seasonally adjusted payroll employment grew by 9,800, Oregon’s largest one month gain since November 1996, when 10,600 jobs were added. • Seasonally adjusted payroll employment rose rapidly during each of the most recent five months; October through February gains averaged 5,900 per month.
• Oregon’s unemployment rate continued its consistent downward trend. Since reaching a high of 11.6 percent in June 2009 it has trended downward, reaching 10.2 percent in February.
• In February, five of the ten major industries saw significant gains in employment.
Strong Employment Growth for Oregon in February
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.2 percent in February, essentially unchanged from 10.4 percent in January.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.9 percent in February, essentially unchanged from 9.0 percent in January.
Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey Data)
In February, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 9,800, following a revised gain of 6,700 in January.
Construction added 1,200 jobs in February, when a loss of 800 is the normal seasonal movement. Most of the gains came from specialty trade contractors, which added 1,000. Building foundation and exterior contractors added 500 jobs, and have added 1,800 since February 2010. Building equipment contractors, such as electricians and plumbers, added 300 jobs.
Construction employment appears to have turned the corner and headed upward. The past three months have each seen seasonally adjusted job gains. The sector bottomed at close to 67,000 jobs during June through November, but has since grown to 70,300 by February.
Manufacturing posted its second consecutive positive showing with a seasonally adjusted gain of 2,400 in February. Computer and electronic product manufacturing was the standout, as it added 600 jobs in February and is up 1,100 in the past 12 months. Manufacturing is now up 4,600 jobs or 2.9 percent since February 2010.
Seasonal Expectations and
Over-the-Month Employment Changes
January to February 2011
|INDUSTRY||Normal Seasonal Movement ||Unadjusted Change ||Seasonally Adjusted Change
|Total nonfarm payroll employment ||8,300 ||18,100 ||9,800
|Total private ||4,400 ||14,100 ||9,700
|Mining and logging ||-100 ||0||100
|Construction||-800 ||1,200 ||2,000
|Manufacturing||-400 ||2,000 ||2,400
|Trade, transportation, and utilities ||-2,800 ||-1,400 ||1,400
|Financial activities ||0||600||600
|Professional and business services ||1,200 ||3,300 ||2,100
|Educational and health services ||5,500 ||4,500 ||-1,000
|Leisure and hospitality ||1,000 ||2,600 ||1,600
|Other services ||800||1,100 ||300
|Government||3,900 || 4,000 ||100
Trade, transportation, and utilities cut only 1,400 jobs in February, during a month that normally would decline by double that amount due to seasonal factors. This industry has been gradually and erratically recovering over the past five months.
Retail trade bounced upward strongly a few months ago and has held that higher seasonally adjusted employment level. On an unadjusted basis, retail employed 182,300 in February, which was a gain of 5,000 from February 2010. Food and beverage stores is a major contributor as it is up 1,800 over the year, and at 38,800 jobs, reached its highest February employment level ever.
Professional and business services added 3,300 jobs in February, when a gain of only 1,200 is the normal seasonal movement. This major industry, that employed 182,700, or 14 percent of all private-sector nonfarm jobs, had gradually expanded throughout last year, but has accelerated its pace of hiring in recent months. Employment services has picked up its trend by adding 1,600 jobs in February, having gained 3,500 since February 2010.
Leisure and hospitality spiked upward for the second consecutive month in February. At 159,500 jobs, the industry is now 5,100 jobs above its February 2010 figure. Full-service restaurants has been a major factor as it added 1,700 jobs over the past 12 months and employed 57,500 in February.
Hours and Earnings
(Establishment Survey Data)
The average workweek for Oregon’s manufacturing production workers was 39.1 hours in February, which was up from 38.2 in January. Average earnings of all employees in Oregon edged down to $21.86 per hour in February from $21.95 in January. This measure of earnings remains near its highest level in at least four years and is up from $21.56 in February 2010. Average weekly earnings of private-sector payroll employees fell from $748.50 in January to $730.12 in February, as average weekly hours fell from 34.1 in January to 33.4 in February.
(Household Survey Data)
The national unemployment rate was 9.0 percent in January and 8.9 percent in February. This was the first time the national rate dropped below 9.0 percent since April 2009, when the rate was also 8.9 percent.
February marked Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate in 25 months. Oregon’s rate has not been lower since January 2009, when the rate was 9.9 percent.
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted labor force rose to a record high of 1,995,424, which was 1,793 above its previous peak reached in April 2009.
Seasonally adjusted employment, as measured by the household survey, has risen rapidly over the past six months. This measure of employment was 1,791,253 in February, a gain of nearly 21,000 individuals since August.
In February, 217,789 Oregonians were unemployed.
Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the February county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Thursday, March 24th and the statewide rate and employment survey data for March on Tuesday, April 12th.
Upcoming 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 monthly survey of Oregon businesses and these economists’ extensive knowledge about their local economies. Starting with the employment data for March 2011, to be published on April 12th, responsibility for these estimates will shift to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The estimates developed by BLS will be more heavily dependent on the relatively small sample of businesses and less reliant on local economic knowledge. This change could result in increased monthly volatility for the industry employment numbers. The change may result in less reliable estimates, 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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