Oregon Labor Market Information System
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Oregon Added Jobs for the Tenth Straight Month in July
by David Cooke
Published Aug-16-2013

Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.0 percent in July, essentially unchanged from the revised rate of 7.8 percent in June.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, nonfarm payroll employment in Oregon rose by 900 in July, following a revised gain of 600 in June, marking the 10th consecutive month of job gains. In July the private sector expanded by 4,400 jobs while government shed 3,500. Private-sector gains were led by leisure and hospitality (+2,300 jobs), professional and business services (+1,900), and trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,500). Construction did not follow suit, as it contracted in July (-1,100 jobs).

Leisure and hospitality hiring has accelerated. Job gains for the 12 months ending in March totaled 5,700, which is 3.4 percent growth. Since then, over the most recent four months, the BLS estimates skyrocketed upward by an additional 6,300 jobs.

Within the broader industry, the large component industry of accommodation and food services was responsible for nearly all of the job gains. On a seasonally adjusted basis, it added 6,100 jobs between March and July. At 158,400 jobs, it is now 6,900 above its pre-recession peak reached in early 2008.

Professional and business services added 3,600 jobs in July, when a gain of 1,700 would be expected due to seasonal factors. This better-than-expected gain put the industry 7,000 jobs above its July 2012 figure. Legal services added 500 jobs in July, to employ 12,700, and is up 800 since July 2012. Management of companies and enterprises added 700 jobs in July, and is up 1,600 over the year. It employed 32,400 in July, which was up considerably from the approximately 29,000 it employed during 2009 and 2010, and the 25,000 it employed during much of the early 2000s. In July, employment services added workers at a rapid pace, boosting its headcount by 1,900 for the month.

Professional and business services expanded rapidly and fairly consistently, on a seasonally adjusted basis, since late 2009. Since July 2012, it grew by 3.6 percent, which is the second fastest growth rate of the major industries. Leisure and hospitality was by far the fastest hiring industry, with an annual rate of 6.1 percent.

Trade, transportation, and utilities added 2,700 jobs in July, when a gain of 1,200 is the normal seasonal movement for the month. Wholesale trade shot up by 1,700 jobs, accounting for more than half of the gains in the broader industry. Meanwhile, transportation, warehousing and utilities spiked downward during June and July, erasing gains made earlier in the year.So far this year, retail trade boosted hiring at a slightly faster pace. Seasonally adjusted employment was up by 500 in July and is up by 4,800 jobs or 2.6 percent over the past 12 months. In June, clothing stores added 900, while general merchandise stores added 400.

Construction employment continues to show a slow pace of recovery over the past three years. At 70,900 in July, seasonally adjusted employment remained barely above 70,000 for the seventh consecutive month. This relatively low headcount in recent months is in contrast with the approximately 105,000 construction workers employed during the peak of Oregon's housing boom in 2007. The current construction employment is only 3,700 above the low point reached during the middle of 2010.