Oregon Labor Market Information System
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Oregon Business Employment Dynamics: Fourth Quarter 2012
by Phoebe Colman
Published Oct-21-2013

In the fourth quarter of 2012, seasonally adjusted gross job gains in Oregon's private sector dropped from 97,240 to 94,828. Over the same period, gross job losses rose to 90,642, compared with 86,428 in the third quarter. The result of these changes was a seasonally adjusted net gain of 4,186 jobs. While this net employment gain is considerably smaller than the growth observed in the third quarter, it is still the strongest fourth quarter since 2006, before the onset of the Great Recession.

Holiday season hiring in Oregon's retail trade sector also turned in its strongest performance in six years, on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Holiday hiring patterns have gradually returned to a more typical trend after an abysmal showing in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, near the low point of the recession.

While gross job gains in the fourth quarter of 2009 remained fairly weak in the retail trade sector, they were more than enough to offset gross job losses, producing the customary end-of-the-year spike in net job gains, albeit a modest one. Beginning in 2010, a "new normal" appears to have emerged, with fourth quarter gross job gains in the 16,000 to 17,000 range, and gross job losses on the order of 8,000 for 2010, 2011, and 2012. The not seasonally adjusted net job gain in retail trade from September to December 2012 was the largest since 2006, the result of relatively strong gross job gains.

Data on quarterly gross job gains and losses come from the Business Employment Dynamics program at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A more detailed Business Employment Dynamics Report is available at www.QualityInfo.org on the Publications page in the News box.

Graph 1
Retail trade job flows Oregon third quarter 2006-fourth quarter 2012