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Oregon Statewide Unemployment Rate - October 2011
11/16/2011
Contact:  David Cooke, Economist
Oregon Employment Department
(503) 947-1272
david.c.cooke@state.or.us
 
Oregon's Unemployment Rate Remained Essentially Unchanged at 9.5 Percent in October
 
 
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.5 percent in October, essentially unchanged from 9.6 percent in September. Meanwhile, the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.0 percent in October and 9.1 percent in September.
 
Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey Data)
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 800 in October, following a revised gain of 2,700 in September. October job gains were led by professional and business services (+2,300 jobs), government (+1,400), and trade, transportation and utilities (+1,300). These gains were offset by losses in manufacturing ( 2,300 jobs), leisure and hospitality (-1,300), and construction (-900).
 
Professional and business services added 700 jobs at a time of year when a loss of 1,600 is the typical pattern. This major industry has been on a generally rising trend for much of the past two years. It is up 4,800 jobs, or 2.6 percent, over the past 12 months. In October, the component industry called professional and technical services, which includes legal, architectural, engineering, and computer systems design services, added 1,600 jobs. However, employment services cut 800.

Government turned in a monthly job change that was above its normal seasonal pattern, adding 19,300 at a time of year when a gain of only 17,900 was expected. Local government education accounted for most of that gain by adding 15,700 jobs in October. Employment for these K-12 schools and community colleges dropped sharply in the summer, but rebounded somewhat in September and October. The October total for local education was 100,100, which was down 3,100, or 3.0 percent, compared with its year-ago figure.
 
Elsewhere in government, seasonally adjusted employment figures have been relatively flat for most of the year in both federal and state government.

Government employment for September was revised up substantially, with seasonally adjusted employment now showing a gain of 2,500, compared with the preliminary reading published last month that showed government as essentially flat for September. Nearly all of the revision took place in local education, where late-reporting survey establishments boosted the start-of-the-school-year employment estimate.

Trade, transportation and utilities has expanded gradually over the past two years. The broad industry sector continued that trend in October with a gain of 1,200 jobs. Over the past year, the sector has added 2,800 jobs or 0.9 percent. Retail trade got the holiday hiring season off to a strong start with a gain of 2,400 in October. Retail is up 3,200 since October 2010. Three component industries each added between 600 and 800 jobs in October: food and beverage stores, general merchandise stores, and nonstore retailers.
 
Manufacturing cut 3,300 jobs in October, during a month where the typical job loss due to seasonality is only 1,000. Most of the cuts came in nondurable goods, which shed 1,800, with its component industry food manufacturing also cutting 1,800 jobs in October. Nondurable goods experienced an unusually large upward spike in August, with some canneries reporting brisk activity. By October, the industry was back down to 50,400, which is 1,200 below its year-ago figure. Meanwhile, durable goods manufacturing trended downward during the summer and autumn, following a surge earlier in the year. Durable goods employment cut 1,500 jobs in October and is up 1,600 from October 2010.
 
Leisure and hospitality pulled back more than usual in October, shedding 7,500 jobs when a loss of only 6,200 is the norm. The industry had expanded earlier in the year. Food services and drinking places has been a standout component, adding 4,300 jobs since October 2010, to reach 126,000 by October 2011.
 
Construction cut 1,300 jobs in October, which was considerably more than the typical loss of 400 for the month. Despite the loss, the industry has hovered around a seasonally adjusted employment level of close to 70,000 since February. This is only a few thousand jobs above construction’s recent low point reached approximately one year ago.

Hours and Earnings
(Establishment Survey Data)
The average workweek for Oregon manufacturing production workers spiked up to 40.6 hours in October, a gain from 38.9 in July, three months prior. This was the highest level since 40.7 hours in December 2007. This measure of the workweek has generally trended higher over the past two years and is up from the October 2010 figure of 40.2 hours.
 
Average earnings of all private-sector payroll employees in Oregon rose to $21.90 per hour in October from $21.68 in September. The October figure was up 12 cents per hour, or 0.6 percent, from October 2010.

Unemployment
(Household Survey Data)
The national unemployment rate was 9.0 percent in October and 9.1 percent in July, August, and September. Oregon’s October rate of 9.5 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 been below 10 percent for the past seven months, since March, when the rate was 9.9 percent. The recent low point for Oregon’s rate was in May, when it reached 9.3 percent. Prior to May, the rate generally had been declining since reaching a recent high of 11.6 percent in both May and June 2009.
 
In October, 177,350 Oregonians were unemployed. This is 20,761 fewer individuals than in October 2010 when 198,111 Oregonians were unemployed.

Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the October county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Monday, November 21st and the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for November on Tuesday, December 13th.
 
 
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.
 
Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities