It’s the Time of the Season for Employment

It’s the Time of the Season for Employment

by Christopher Rich

August 29, 2017

Employment in many industries rises and falls due to seasonal changes that increase and decrease demand for workers. The level of employment in local government education for instance, is generally highest from October through May when school is in session. The low point for educational employment generally occurs from July through August when schools are on summer recess.

While the summer season means a cut in pay for some workers, for others summertime means work is in full swing. Mining and logging, construction, leisure and hospitality, and federal government employment in Eastern Oregon typically reach their seasonal employment peaks during July and August. Warm, dry summer weather pushes people to play and work outdoors. Logging and forestry roads dry out and become more accessible; home repairs, remodels, and new construction projects reach full stride; and vacationers hit the open road to visit friends and family, or frolic in fields and forests. For Baker, Grant, and Harney these seasonal boosts help drive total nonfarm employment to peak from summer to early fall. For Wallowa County, the summer swing drives total nonfarm employment to peak during July and August. Historically, Wallowa sees roughly a 20 percent increase in employment from January to July and a 20 percent decrease from July to January.

The tables included with this article provide a snapshot of industries by county in Eastern Oregon that experience seasonal swings. These industries exhibit an historical pattern in their employment levels where employment rises and falls during roughly the same period each year. Some industries are seasonal in one county, but not seasonal in another county. For instance, wholesale trade employment in Malheur County typically peaks in October, however, in most Eastern Oregon counties wholesale trade does not exhibit a seasonal pattern. In most counties, an industry’s employment peak occurs during a three-month window. For instance, construction employment in Baker County typically peaks somewhere from August through October. In a few industries and counties, employment has a two-peak cycle. In Union County for instance, total nonfarm employment reaches a peak in June, then falls to a low point in July, rises to a second peak in October, and falls again to a second low point in January. 

More detailed information about county level employment by industry can be found on under the Economic Data section.