Year in Review 2016: Benton County

Year in Review 2016: Benton County

by Pat O'Connor

April 20, 2017

Revised payroll employment estimates for 2016 show that Oregon’s job growth slowed from its growth in 2015.

On an annual average basis, Oregon’s payroll employment grew 51,900 jobs, or 2.9 percent, in 2016. That compares with a gain of 58,800 jobs, or 3.4 percent, in 2015.

Benton County’s payroll employment was up 1.5 percent in 2016. The county’s total nonfarm employment increased by 600 jobs in 2016 after adding 1,220 jobs, or 3.1 percent, in 2015.

In 2016, job growth in the county pushed employment far past its pre-recession employment peak. Benton County’s annual 2016 total employment was 2,840 jobs or more than 7 percent above the annual employment in 2008, before the Great Recession hit the economy.

Benton County’s private-sector employment added 410 jobs, or 1.5 percent, in 2016 and public-sector employment was up 200 jobs or 1.4 percent. There were significant changes at the industry level.

Manufacturing in Benton County experienced the largest private sector employment losses during the Great Recession and those losses continue. In 2015, manufacturing employment declined by 60 jobs or 2.0 percent. Manufacturing employment continued to decline in 2016, shedding 190 jobs or 6.4 percent. More than four out of 10 (-41%) manufacturing jobs in Benton County have disappeared since 2007.    

Information is another sector that has continued to lose employment. The sector shed 40 jobs (-6.1%) in 2015 and 30 jobs (-4.8%) in 2016. Information includes businesses such as newspaper publishers, cable providers, telecommunication providers, and internet service providers.

Leisure and hospitality added employment in both 2015 and 2016, adding 220 jobs (+6.1%) and 120 jobs (+3.1%), respectively.

Educational and health services added 370 jobs, or 6.1 percent, in 2015 and added 230 jobs, or 3.6 percent, in 2016.

Financial activities showed fast job growth in 2016, adding 110 jobs and growing 8.1 percent. That follows a gain of 70 jobs or 5.4 percent in 2015.   

The public sector as a whole added employment in 2016, but employment growth varied significantly between the three branches. Federal government added 20 jobs (+4.0%) in 2016. State government employment shed 20 jobs (-4.9%) in 2016 Local government added 200 jobs to grow 1.5 percent in 2016. One big change within Benton County’s public sector is that Oregon State University’s employment is now reported within local government education. Traditionally, OSU’s employment was reported in state government education.

Benchmarking Process

The newly revised payroll employment numbers are the result of the annual benchmarking process. This revision process is conducted by Oregon Employment Department staff in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment numbers for both 2015 and 2016 are revised. For the monthly data through September 2016, original survey-based estimates were replaced with universe employment counts from the Unemployment Insurance tax system. Numbers from October through December 2016 were then re-estimated using sample employment data from a survey of businesses.