Oregon Labor Market Information System
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Unemployment Rate at 8.4 Percent in November, as Payrolls Grew by 600 Jobs
by David Cooke
Published Jan-15-2013

Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 8.4 percent, essentially unchanged from 8.6 percent in October. The November 2011 unemployment rate was 9.1 percent. During the first 11 months of this year, Oregon's unemployment rate has been between 8.4 percent and 8.9 percent.

In November, 159,653 Oregonians were unemployed. This was 12,288 fewer individuals than in November 2011 when 171,941 Oregonians were unemployed.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate nonfarm payroll employment in Oregon rose by 600 jobs in November. The private sector added 1,400 jobs over the month, while the public sector declined by 800.

Revised estimates for October show a loss of only 800 jobs, when a loss of 2,400 was initially reported. Upward revisions were largest in professional and business services and in leisure and hospitality.

Over the past year, the BLS estimates from November 2011 to November 2012 show a seasonally adjusted job gain of 18,700, or 1.2 percent, for Oregon's nonfarm payroll employment. During that time the private sector added an estimated 20,500 jobs (+1.5%), while government lost 1,800 jobs (-0.6%).

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that manufacturing has added to payrolls all year. Employment was up 5,000, or 3.0 percent, since November 2011. The sectors with the largest over-the-year increases included wood products (+500 jobs), fabricated metal products (+700), machinery (+800), and food manufacturing (+1,800). Despite these gains in recent months, manufacturing, at 169,900 jobs in November, was still well below its recent peak employment of 213,000 in August 2006.

Seasonally adjusted employment in construction has hovered close to 70,000 over the past three years. In November, this measure of construction employment dipped to 68,400, which tied March as the low point for the year. Apparently, rapid gains in statewide multi-unit and single-unit building permits this year have yet to translate to substantial net employment gains in the construction industry. The industry remains well below its record employment readings of more than 100,000 that were seen throughout much of 2006 and 2007.

Economists with the BLS estimate that private-sector educational and health services has been near 238,000 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis for over a year. This sector has flattened out during this period as a result of changes in much of the health care industry that have resulted in slowing expansion. Private-sector educational services added 1,200 jobs in October and has expanded rapidly and consistently over the past 10 years. This industry, which includes private colleges as well as elementary and secondary schools, employed 37,600 in November compared with 27,000 in November 2002.

The BLS estimates that government employment continues to lag the recovery of private-sector employment. Federal government was down 1,300 over the past 12 months. State government shed 600 jobs in that time. Local government, meanwhile, added 500 jobs, with all of those gains coming outside of local government education.

Holiday hiring in retail, through November, appears to be stronger than last year. Retail employed 197,200 in November, which was up 4,900 compared with November 2011. Clothing and accessories stores added the most jobs of the retail categories, as it was up 1,400 from last year.

The BLS estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. These preliminary estimates are subject to revision.