Oregon Labor Market Information System
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Oregon's Payroll Employment Rises for the Eighth Consecutive Month
by Chris Greaves
Published Jun-24-2013

On a seasonally adjusted basis, preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate nonfarm payroll employment in Oregon rose by 3,800 jobs in May. Large gains in construction (+1,600 jobs) and trade, transportation, and utilities (+900) were partially offset by a drop in manufacturing (-800). May marked the eighth consecutive month of employment gains - the longest such stretch since before the Great Recession. Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent in May, from 7.9 percent in April.

The BLS estimates that construction employment rose by 1,600 in May when a gain of 300 is the normal seasonal movement. The construction employment estimates for recent months indicate that the industry is ramping up hiring over the first five months of the year at the fastest pace in more than three years.

Seasonally adjusted construction employment reached 72,900 in May. This was well above its recent low of 67,200, which was reached in several months of 2010. Despite job gains in recent months, the industry remains far below it pre-recession high of 105,400 reached in mid-2007.

Manufacturing was expected to add 1,600 jobs in May due to normal seasonal factors, but added only 800 instead. This subpar performance followed strong gains during the first four months of the year. The trend over the past three years has been one of gradual recovery.

Nondurable goods manufacturing was hiring in May with food manufacturing adding 600 jobs. Nondurable goods employed nearly 50,000 in May, which was close to its levels for the time of year during the mid-2000s.

The BLS estimates that hiring in durable goods manufacturing was relatively quiet in May, with a drop of 200 jobs. All of the published components within durable goods saw virtually no change in employment for the month.

Trade, transportation, and utilities added 3,000 jobs in May, at a time of year when a gain of 2,100 was expected due to seasonal factors. The industry is now about half-way back to its peak in early 2008, from its trough in early 2010. Employment totaled 318,800 in May, which was up 5,000 from May 2012.

Several other major industries experienced relatively small employment gains in May. On a seasonally adjusted basis, these industries each added between 400 and 600 jobs: information; professional and business services; private-sector educational and health services; and government. Conversely, other than the previously mentioned manufacturing, no other major industry experienced a job decline larger than 400 in May.