Oregon Labor Market Information System
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Oregon Added 4,200 Jobs in January, as the Unemployment Rate Held Steady
by David Cooke
Published Mar-8-2013

In January, 182,994 Oregonians were unemployed. This was 7,707 fewer individuals than in January 2012 when 190,701 Oregonians were unemployed.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, nonfarm payroll employment in Oregon rose by 4,200 jobs in January. The private sector added 5,000 jobs over the month, while the public sector declined by 800. Revised estimates for December show a gain of 1,200 jobs, when a gain of 2,000 was initially reported. Downward revisions were largest in trade, transportation, and utilities. Gains of over 1,000 jobs in three major industries were only partially offset by modest losses in two major industries.

Manufacturing was expected to cut 2,900 jobs in January due to normal seasonal factors, but only shed 1,500. This better-than-expected reading put manufacturing back on track of its moderate recovery seen during the prior three years.

Looking at the component manufacturing industries, many have expanded since January 2012, including wood products (+900 jobs), primary metals (+300), fabricated metals (+600), machinery (+400), transportation equipment (+500), and nondurable goods (+300).

Leisure and hospitality cut 3,200 jobs in January, at a time of year when a loss of 4,200 jobs was expected due to seasonal factors. This industry is highly seasonal, with the low point for the year typically occurring in January. Peak employment, typically reached in July of each year, can be 15,000 to 20,000 jobs higher than the winter low point.

After factoring out the normal seasonal swings, leisure and hospitality has been on an expansionary path for nearly three years. One of its component industries - arts, entertainment, and recreation - employed 19,500 in January, and is still more than 2,000 jobs below its peak January employment reached in 2008. However, the larger component industry - accommodation and food services - is nearly back to its highest January employment level ever. Its January 2013 employment was 143,400, while January 2008 accounted for 144,200 Oregon Jobs, as these hotels and restaurants have been adding workers since early 2010.

Government cut 4,100 jobs in January when a loss of 3,300 is the normal seasonal pattern for the month. This worse-than-expected showing continued the declining trend seen over the past several months. Over the past 12 months, however, government employment is only down 200 jobs, with federal government shedding 400, local government down 100, and state government adding 300, with the added jobs coming in the state education sector.

Construction employment cut 4,900 jobs in January, when a loss of 4,400 is the normal seasonal pattern for the month. Despite gains in Oregon residential construction permits during much of 2012, construction employment dropped, declining 2,600 jobs since January 2012. Nearly all of the jobs losses over this 12-month period have come from specialty trade contractors, which is down 2,500 since January 2012. Firms in this category include electrical, plumbing, and drywall contractors.