Year in Review 2020: Yamhill County

by Pat O'Connor

September 2, 2021

2020 is quite a year to review. A year that brought an end to the United States’ longest post-WW II economic expansion to a grinding halt. An ongoing global pandemic that shut down large parts of our economy and took more than 500,000 lives nationally in 2020. The recession in 2020 brought unprecedented job loss and a slow recovery in the U.S and Oregon; that was also the case in Yamhill County.

Yamhill County Labor Force

Similar to the U.S. and Oregon, Yamhill County began 2020 with a very tight labor market and near all-time low unemployment rates in the area. That tight labor market continued until the middle of March 2020, when public health measures quickly closed down much of our economy where social distancing was not possible. Although COVID related closures in Oregon began in March, we did not see those closures reflected in the labor force numbers until the April data when Yamhill County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped from 3.1% in March to 11.9% in April; the largest single month jump in Yamhill County’s history. The April 2020 unemployment rate matched the highest unemployment rate in Yamhill County during the current series, which dates back to 1990. The previous highest unemployment rate in Salem occurred during The Great Recession, when the county’s unemployment rate peaked at 11.9% in April and May of 2009, in the depths of The Great Recession.

Yamhill County’s unemployment rate remained in double-digits for April and May and then began to decline as the summer went on. By the end of 2020 the unemployment rate was down to 5.8% in December; down significantly from its peak of 11.9% in April and May, but nearly 3 percentage points higher than where the unemployment rate was prior to the pandemic.

Total Nonfarm Employment           

On an annual average basis, Oregon’s payroll employment declined 125,200 jobs or -6.4% in 2020. That compares with a gain of 31,400 jobs or 1.6% in 2019.

On an average annual basis Yamhill County’s payroll employment declined 2,760 or -7.8% in 2020. In 2019, Yamhill County’s employment grew 580 or 1.7%.

Yamhill County’s private sector declined 8.1% in 2020, shedding 2,510 jobs.
Leisure and hospitality was the sector that experienced the most job loss in Yamhill County. In 2020 the sector shed 750 jobs, down 19.4% annually.

Yamhill County’s manufacturing sector had been a bright spot in the economy, recording positive growth each year from 2016 to 2019. In 2020 the sector’s employment declined 660 or -9.4%.

Private educational services was the third industry in Yamhill County to show steep job losses in 2020. The sector’s employment was down 630 jobs or 21% annually. Employment has been down significantly during the pandemic for both private and public universities.

Yamhill County’s public sector recorded employment declines in 2020 as well. The losses were concentrated in local government, which shed 240 jobs or -6.4%.

Benchmarking Process

The newly revised payroll employment numbers are the result of the annual benchmarking process. This revision process is conducted by the Oregon Employment Department staff in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment numbers for both 2019 and 2020 are revised. For the monthly data through September 2020, original survey-based estimates were replaced with universe employment counts from the Unemployment Insurance tax system. Numbers from October through December 2020 were then re-estimated using sample employment data from a survey of businesses.

 


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