Oregon Labor Market Information System
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Oregon's Payroll Employment Increases for the Seventh Consecutive Month
by David Cooke
Published May-20-2013

 
Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.0 percent in April. It has trended downward for nearly four years.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, nonfarm payroll employment in Oregon rose by 3,700 jobs in April. Large gains in leisure and hospitality (+2,600 jobs), manufacturing (+1,200), and other services (+1,100) were partially offset by a drop in construction ( 1,200). Revised estimates for March show a gain of 1,300 jobs, when a gain of 1,900 was initially reported.

Construction employment rose by only 1,700 in April, when a gain of 2,900 is the normal seasonal movement. This weak showing followed strong gains in February and March. Over the longer term, construction added 1,400 jobs since April 2012, but at 68,100 jobs in April 2013, it was still well below its record April high of 101,500 reached in April 2007.

Manufacturing was expected to add 500 jobs in April due to normal seasonal factors, but added 1,700 instead. This better-than-expected reading put manufacturing back on track with its moderate recovery seen during the prior three years. Seasonally adjusted employment in manufacturing stood at 175,800 in April, which was well above its low point of 162,100 in late 2009.

Leisure and hospitality added 4,600 jobs in April, at a time of year when a gain of 2,000 was expected due to seasonal factors. The industry has added employees at an accelerating rate so far this year.

Since April 2012, leisure and hospitality has been one of the fastest-growing major industries. Over the past 12 months it added 9,300 jobs, or 5.6 percent. Food services and drinking places, a major component sector, has added 6,600 in that time.

In April, other services added 500 jobs when a loss of 600 is the normal seasonal pattern for the month. This better-than-expected showing puts the industry slightly above its slow-growth trend seen over the past two years. This industry, which includes establishments engaged in repair, maintenance, personal services, and religious organizations, has recovered less than half of the jobs it lost during the 2008-2009 recession.

Effective with the release of April preliminary estimates, the Oregon payroll employment numbers were revised for all months from October 2012 through March 2013. The figures now incorporate a near-universe count of employment covered by the unemployment insurance program for October through December. The months of January through March were then adjusted to reflect the newly revised December figures.

These improvements to this Oregon data resulted in an upward revision of 3,100 jobs to December's seasonally adjusted total nonfarm payroll employment. The private sector was revised upward by 6,500, while government was revised downward by 3,400. Private-sector revisions were largest in the following industries: leisure and hospitality (revised upward by 2,100 jobs); construction (+1,200); and trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,200).