CONTACT: David Cooke, Economist
Oregon’s December Unemployment Rate at 10.6 Percent: Essentially Unchanged
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.6 percent in December, essentially unchanged from the revised November figure of 10.5 percent. The rate has been between 10.5 and 10.7 percent for the most recent 14 months. Oregon’s unemployment rate was also 10.6 percent in December 2009. The U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined from 9.8 percent in November to 9.4 percent in December.
Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey Data)
In December, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 1,800, following a revised gain of 2,800 in November.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, a slight gain of 400 jobs in the private sector for December was more than offset by a drop of 2,200 jobs in government. December marked the fourth consecutive month of private-sector job gains in Oregon.
Government shed 2,200 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in December. Most of this decline was attributed to an unusual reduction in local government education related to the timing of the holiday break; this was a one-month drop, so these jobs will return in January.
Professional and business services added 1,400 jobs in December at a time of year when a loss of 500 is the normal seasonal movement. Professional and technical services added 700 jobs, while administrative and waste services added 500.
Between December 2009 and December 2010, professional and business services added the most jobs of any major industry sector. It grew by 7,200 jobs or 4.1 percent.
Leisure and hospitality cut only 200 jobs in December, which was fewer than the 1,200 expected due to seasonal factors. Arts, entertainment, and recreation bounced up by 700 and is now 200 above its year-ago figure. The industry employed 21,500 in December, which was still below its peak December figure during 2007 when 22,600 were employed.
Accommodation and food services had a relatively strong summer of 2010 compared to the prior year, but during the latter half of 2010 retraced some of those job gains. By December, it employed 139,400, which was only up 2,300 from its December 2009 level. This industry’s job loss of 900 in December was about in line with its normal seasonal job loss for the last month of the year.
Manufacturing posted large cuts in December, dropping 2,100 jobs during a month that typically sees little overall job change due to seasonality.
Manufacturing recorded a seasonally adjusted job count of 159,700. This was its first time below 160,000 in at least 20 years. The industry had been stabilizing at close to 162,000 jobs from August 2009 through November 2010, but the December 2010 drop sent the industry 2,500 below the average level for that period.
In December, wood product manufacturing cut 300 jobs, dropping to a total of 18,900. This was the first time the industry employed fewer than 19,000 since comparable records are available starting in 1990. Each of its three component industries reached record lows in December and each have been cut by more than half since the early 1990s.
Nondurable goods shed 1,700 jobs in December, putting it close to the lowest level in recent memory.
Government cut 5,100 jobs in December, when a loss of only 2,900 is the normal seasonal movement. Federal government cut 500 jobs, reaching 28,300. This was slightly below the December federal employment totals over the past few years.
State government cut 400 jobs in December; however, it is up 1,000 jobs since December 2009 largely due to the 1,300-job gain in state government education during that period.
Local government cut 4,200 jobs. About one-third of this drop was attributed to an unusual one-month recording of fewer jobs due to the timing of the holiday break. This put local government 2,100 jobs below its December 2009 figure.
Hours and Earnings
(Establishment Survey Data)
The average workweek for Oregon’s manufacturing production workers was 39.0 hours in December, which matched the revised figure of 39.0 in November.
Average earnings of all employees in Oregon spiked upward to $21.79 per hour in December from $21.55 in November. This measure of earnings rose to its highest level in at least four years. It is up from $21.52 in December 2009.
The increase in hourly earnings boosted average weekly earnings of all private-sector payroll employees to $729.97 in December. This was up from $717.62 in November and $710.16 in December 2009.
(Household Survey Data)
The national unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 percent in November to 9.4 percent in December. Despite this drop, Oregon’s unemployment rate was essentially unchanged, at 10.6 percent in December and 10.5 percent in November.
One contributing factor at the national level was the contraction in the labor force. The seasonally adjusted civilian labor force dropped from 153,950,000 in November to 153,690,000 in December, a drop of 260,000 or 0.2 percent. In contrast, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted labor force continued to expand, rising from 1,986,346 in November to 1,993,466 in December, a gain of 7,120 or 0.4 percent.
In December, 206,161 Oregonians were unemployed.
Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the December county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Monday, January 24th and the statewide rate and employment survey data for January on Tuesday, March 1st.
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