Oregon's seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2,300 in April. The March figure was revised upward to show a gain of 1,200 jobs, rather than the loss of 300 that was originally reported.
In April, two major industries posted large seasonally adjusted job gains: construction (+1,700 jobs) and professional and business services (+1,700). These gains were partially offset by declines in trade, transportation, and utilities (-1,200 jobs) and educational and health services (-1,000).
Construction added 3,800 jobs when a gain of only 2,100 is the normal seasonal pattern in April. These gains followed weak employment trends in February and March.
Seasonally adjusted employment in construction, at 70,100 jobs in April, was very close to its January reading of 70,300. Since April 2011, this measure of construction employment is up by 1,400 jobs, or 2.0 percent.
Professional and business services added 2,900 jobs in April at a time of year when a gain of only 1,200 is the norm. Recent employment trends in this large industry were nearly flat for over a year. The April uptick put the industry about even with its year-ago figure. Since April 2011, professional and technical services, which includes legal, architectural, engineering, and computer systems design services, was up 2,200 jobs. Countering these gains, administrative and waste services cut 2,300 jobs over the past 12 months.
Trade, transportation, and utilities added only 500 jobs in April, when a gain of 1,700 was expected. Retail trade performed as expected for the month by adding 1,600 jobs. Retail gains were seen in building material and garden supply stores, which added 400 jobs, and in food and beverage stores, which also added 400. Retail expanded gradually over the past two years, but is still well off its all‑time high reached in late 2007.
Private-sector educational and health services declined on a seasonally adjusted basis for the third consecutive month. Private education declined in recent months following an unusually large spike upward at the end of 2011. Despite the recent pullback, the April seasonally adjusted figure of 34,200 puts education slightly above its rapid growth trend line experienced over most of the past 10 years.
Meanwhile, health care and social assistance saw its employment peak and then flatten out over the past six months. In April, seasonally adjusted employment for this sector was 202,400, which is very close to its July 2011 level of 202,000. Social assistance is contributing to the flattening trend lately as it is down 400 over the past 12 months. Also, there have been news reports of at least one major hospital cutting employment since last summer.
Industries typically hiring many teens during the summer were at or above their normal job gains in April, including food services and drinking places (+1,300), administrative and support services (+1,600), and retail trade (+1,600).