Oregon Labor Market Information System
Bookmark and Share
First Quarter 2012: Employment Up Over the Year
by Martin Kraal
Published Nov-19-2012

Oregon employers must report total wages and hours worked for each employee covered by unemployment insurance. These quarterly records cover almost 1.7 million individuals employed in the state, but don't include roughly 200,000 self-employed workers. Past quarterly wage reports are available at www.qualityinfo.org/olmisj/PubReader?itemid=00003351.

From the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012, the number of jobs increased by 3,962, or 0.2 percent, to a total of 1,671,603 jobs covered under unemployment insurance.

Total wages earned from these jobs increased by roughly $1 billion, or 6.8 percent. Though both the total number of jobs and wages increased over the year, the growth varies slightly by industry.

Most of the job growth occurred in the professional and business services sector, which added 6,570 jobs (Graph 1). Manufacturing added the second largest number of jobs at 2,321. This is the seventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year jobs gains for the manufacturing sector, as it slowly recovers from the large number of jobs lost during the recession.

State and local government lost the largest number of jobs from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012, while the financial activities sector lost the largest percentage of jobs. Educational and health services lost 589 jobs, which is the first year-over-year job loss since the fourth quarter of 2005.

When looking at the net growth in workers rather than jobs, as a worker can hold multiple jobs, the growth is more concentrated in those individuals working two or more jobs. A total of 1,581,806 people were working jobs covered by Oregon's unemployment insurance system in the first quarter of 2012. This is an increase of roughly 2,800, or 0.2 percent, from the first quarter of 2011. The number of people working two or more jobs comprised a majority of this increase as 1,776 more individuals were working multiple jobs.

Graph 1
Oregon covered job growth by industry Q1 2011- Q2 2012
Total wages earned in the first quarter of 2012 were approximately $17.2 billion with a median hourly wage of $17.44. The median wage, the wage at which half the jobs pay less and half the jobs pay more, increased 1.3 percent, or 22 cents, not adjusted for inflation.

The financial activities sector had the largest percentage increase in the median hourly wage at 3.6 percent (Graph 2). The information sector, which had the highest median wage at $26.17, was the only industry that had a decrease in the median wage over the year.

Graph 2
Oregon median wage growth by industry Q1 2011 - Q2 2012