In February, 192,932 Oregonians were unemployed. This is 16,118 fewer individuals than in February 2011 when 209,050 Oregonians were unemployed.
Oregon's seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment fell 6,400 in February, following a revised gain of 3,700 in January. February job losses were largest in construction (-2,000 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities (-2,000); and professional and business services (-1,500). None of the major industries saw gains of more than 300 jobs.
In February, construction cut 1,400 jobs when a gain of 600 is the normal seasonal movement. Heavy and civil engineering construction cut 500 jobs. Specialty trade contractors cut 1,200, as each of its four components shed jobs.
Residential building construction has yet to see a substantial upturn, despite the economic recovery being more than two and one-half years along. It employed only 8,100 in February, which was about 500 jobs below its comparable levels in February of the prior two years.
This industry, which is comprised of many smaller firms that build homes and apartments, averaged close to 10,000 jobs in 1995 through 2003. Then, during the housing boom, it surged to annual employment of nearly 16,000 by 2007. In contrast, the first two months of 2012 put the industry on track for the lowest winter employment totals since 1994.
Trade, transportation, and utilities cut 4,100 jobs in February, when a loss of half that is the normal seasonal pattern. Larger than normal losses in wholesale trade (-400 jobs) and retail trade (-3,600) were the primary reasons for February's lackluster performance.
Professional and business services added only 800 jobs, when a gain of 2,300 is the normal seasonal pattern for February. Most industries within the broad category were relatively flat for the month. The exception was professional and technical services, which added 900 jobs in February. This industry, which includes law firms, engineering services, and computer systems design, fully recovered its employment following the recessionary downturn. In fact, February's employment total of 74,900 tied the record high employment figure, which was also reached in April and October of 2011.