Oregon Labor Market Information System
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Oregon Business Employment Dynamics: First Quarter 2011
by Phoebe Colman
Published Jan-26-2012

In the first quarter of 2011, Oregon's private sector produced a seasonally adjusted net gain of 5,389 jobs, the second-largest such gain since the beginning of the last recession. This increase was the result of 90,375 gross job gains combined with 84,986 gross job losses.

On average, expanding establishments added 3.4 jobs per establishment in the first quarter of 2011 while contracting establishments lost an average of 3.2 jobs. Establishments that opened during the first quarter started with an average of 2.7 employees, while closing establishments lost an average of 2.5 employees per establishment.

Holiday season hiring trends in Oregon's retail trade sector improved in the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 for the second year in a row. This represents a return to a more normal seasonal pattern after an abysmal showing in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, near the low point of the recession.

Net job growth during the fourth quarter 2009 holiday season buildup represented 3.0 percent of total sector employment (not seasonally adjusted), with a relatively small post-holiday net loss of 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2010. A net buildup of 4.7 percent of retail trade employment in the fourth quarter of 2010 was followed by a first quarter 2011 net loss of 7.2 percent, which is on a par with 2006-2007 figures prior to the recession. Gross job flows are similarly comparable, although the magnitude of both gains and losses is smaller after the recession than it was before. This moderation in job flow behavior has been occurring for at least the last decade, and may be related to structural changes in the labor market.

Data on the quarterly gross job gains and losses come from the Business Employment Dynamics program at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A more detailed Business Employment Dynamics Report is available at www.QualityInfo.org on the Publications page in the News box.

Graph 1
Retail trade job flows as percent of employment