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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

August 2020 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

Wildfires Impact
Devastating wildfires have ravaged workplaces, homes, communities, and more than 1 million acres of land across Oregon in recent weeks. This release covers the Oregon employment situation in August. It does not capture the personal and economic disruption caused by these disasters.

Press Release
In August 2020, all 36 of Oregon’s counties experienced over-the-month decreases in their unemployment rates. In 26 counties, unemployment rates dropped by 2 percentage points or more. Lincoln County experienced the largest over-the-month decrease at 4.9 percentage points. Counties with the smallest percentage point changes in their unemployment rates since July 2020 include Wheeler (-0.5pp), Morrow (-0.8pp), and Malheur (-1.0pp).

Lincoln County had Oregon’s highest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August at 10.6 percent. Other counties with some of the highest unemployment rates include Multnomah (9.7%), and Jefferson (9.1%).

Wheeler County registered the lowest unemployment rate for the month at 4.4 percent. Other counties with some of the lowest unemployment rates in August were Morrow (5.2%) and Benton (5.7%). Twenty-eight counties had unemployment rates at or below the national rate of 8.4 percent. Twenty-four counties also had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 7.7 percent.


Total nonfarm payroll employment declined sharply in all six of Oregon’s broad regions between August 2019 and August 2020. The largest job losses occurred in the Coast region (-10.2%). Portland-5 (-9.0%), Central Oregon (-8.8%), and the Willamette Valley (-6.5%) also experienced large over-theyear employment losses.

Read the original press release here.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Businesses and Jobs in Oregon's Wildfire Evacuation Zones: An Update

Last week we posted a summary of available information about the business establishments and jobs located in wildfire evacuation zones as of the morning of September 11. That turned out to be the largest single-day total of business establishments and jobs located in evacuation zones for Oregon statewide. 

Last Friday (September 11), there were 21,350 business establishments and 232,600 jobs in level 1, 2, and 3 evacuation zones combined (see linked post above for more details). As of September 17, a total of 10,620 business establishments with 110,200 jobs were located within wildfire evacuation zones.

Although the business establishment and jobs totals in wildfire evacuation zones have declined significantly, the dynamics differ by area. Most notably, the number of jobs located in evacuation areas in Clackamas County totaled 166,000 on September 11. On September 17, Clackamas County jobs located in these zones totaled 12,300. At the same time, Medford's total jobs located in evacuation zones was 37,300 on September 11, and 90,300 on September 17.

Looking at just the level 3 evacuation zones, business and employment numbers were significantly lower on September 17 across all affected counties. Jackson County had the highest total of both businesses (250) and jobs (2,010) in level 3 areas. On September 11, the largest totals were in Clackamas County.

These single-day totals don't capture the totality of businesses or jobs affected over the duration of the ongoing wildfires, let alone the personal and economic devastation from them. Some workers living in evacuation zones are employed in other areas of the state. In addition, many businesses outside of evacuation zones have experienced closures due to poor air quality. 

More information about Oregon's wildfires can be found at https://wildfire.oregon.gov


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Women in Oregon Experiencing Higher Unemployment Rates than Men During COVID-19 Pandemic

Since public health measures were enacted to curtail the spread of COVID-19, Oregon has seen an unprecedented and devastating impact on the economy. Business practices have been curtailed in nearly every industry as businesses adhere to social distancing measures. Unfortunately, the impact of these changes are being felt unequally among Oregonians. Women in particular are feeling the effects of business layoffs, closures, and curtailed operations through higher rates of unemployment.

At the peak of the economic expansion, in February 2020, unemployment rates for men and women were similar at 3.3 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. By April, as businesses began adapting to the social distancing measures enacted in March, unemployment rates for women shot up 2.7 percentage points higher than men. This left women with an unemployment rate of 16.3 percent and men with a rate of 13.6 percent. This is likely because healthcare and social assistance (75% women), educational services (66%), and accommodation and food services (54%), three large industries that were heavily curtailed by COVID-19, are made up mostly of women
Since April, the gap between women and men's unemployment rates has decreased slightly to 2.1 percentage points as the economy continues to reopen and overall unemployment rates drop. As of August 2020, men have an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent and women 8.8 percent.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.7 Percent in August

Wildfires Impact 
Devastating wildfires have ravaged workplaces, homes, communities, and more than 1 million acres of land across Oregon over the past several days. This release covers the Oregon employment situation in August. It does not capture the personal and economic disruption caused by these disasters.

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent in August from 10.4 percent in July. The unemployment rate was more than double last year’s rate of 3.6 percent in August 2019. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 8.4 percent in August from 10.2 percent in July.

Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 11,300 jobs in August, following a revised gain of 17,700 jobs in July. Over the past four months, employers added back 41 percent of the jobs that were cut in March and April.

Over-the-month job gains in August were largest in leisure and hospitality (+4,200 jobs); retail trade (+3,300); construction (+3,200); and government (+3,000). Two industries cut a substantial number of jobs in August: wholesale trade (-1,400 jobs) and health care and social assistance (-1,400).

Leisure and hospitality—which includes restaurants, drinking establishments, hotels, and recreational industries—has added back the most jobs of any of the major industries over the past four months. Despite adding 63,200 jobs during the past four months, leisure and hospitality is only a little over halfway back to its February 2020 peak employment level, prior to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Retail trade has bounced back closer to its recent peak employment level. It added 16,100 jobs over the past four months, which was nearly three-quarters of the jobs lost earlier in the year. The third industry to add back more than half of its jobs lost, while also rebounding by more than 10,000 jobs, was health care and social assistance. This industry, despite a 1,400-job loss in August, added 18,000 jobs over the past four months, regaining nearly two-thirds of its March and April job losses.

Not all industries have rebounded with substantial job growth over the past four months. In August, the following industries remained near their low point for the year: manufacturing; government; information; and professional and business services.


Read the original press release here.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Wildfires in Oregon: Businesses and Jobs in Evacuation Zones

Over the past several days, we've watched in collective fear and sadness as nearly 1 million acres of our beautiful state have gone up in flames. While in recent history most wildfires have been isolated to wilderness areas, the 16 fires currently burning across Oregon are destroying homes and businesses in several areas across the state. While the Research Division of the Employment Department cannot quantify or capture the immensity of these losses, we do have information about the businesses and jobs in current wildfire evacuation zones.

To get to such detailed levels of geography, we have to use information from our Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, and that information has a time lag. So the estimates used here reflect business establishments and jobs covered by Unemployment Insurance taxes as of this time last year, the third quarter of 2019.

The number of business establishments in wildfire evacuation zones as of 8:30 a.m. today (September 11) totaled 21,350 across 13 different counties. These business establishments had 232,600 jobs. For context, that's nearly the same size as the entire private health care industry (262,400 jobs) in Oregon statewide during the third quarter of 2019. The majority of these business establishments (60%) and their jobs (61%) are under Level 1 (or "Be Ready") evacuation orders. Another 30 percent of the affected businesses (and 29% of their jobs) are in Level 2 (or "Be Set") evacuation status. 

One out of 10 business establishments and related employment in current wildfire evacuation zones are in Level 3 ("Go") status. 


Clackamas County has both the largest employment in Level 3 areas (10,000 jobs) and across all evacuation levels (166,000). Jackson County's employment in current evacuation zones totals 37,300 jobs, with 4,000 of those in Level 3 areas. While Marion County has the third-highest total of jobs in all evacuation areas (13,100), Lincoln County has the third-highest Level 3 jobs count (2,100). 

By industry sector, those with the largest job totals in all levels of evacuation zones -- health care, retail trade, and leisure and hospitality -- are among the state's largest overall industries. If we look just at the most-impacted, Level 3 areas though, the largest numbers of jobs come from natural resources and mining (3,700), which makes sense given the geography of wildfires. The level of impact is notable though: while natural resources and mining made up 4 percent of all jobs in the third quarter of 2019, the industry accounts for one out of five (18%) of Level 3 evacuation area jobs. Construction is also disproportionately affected, with 13 percent of Level 3 area jobs, compared with 8 percent of all jobs.

We'll continue to update these numbers and publish them as the fire situation continues to develop. In the meantime, take care everyone, and if you have questions, please send them to me at Gail.K.Krumenauer@oregon.gov.


Friday, September 4, 2020

Celebrating Oregon's Worker's: Labor Day 2020

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City. By 1884, 23 other states adopted the holiday to celebrate workers. In the same year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday within the District of Columbia and its territories.

The United States differs from the majority of the world on the date of their Labor Day holiday. A large number of foreign countries celebrate May Day (May 1st), which is also called International Workers’ Day as their workers’ holiday.

In recognition of Labor Day 2020, here are some workforce-related statistics:

2,059,199
The total civilian labor force in Oregon in July 2020. The United States had 159.8 million in the same time period.

118,000
The number of Oregonians who held two or more jobs in 2019. Roughly 5.8 percent of Oregonians held multiple jobs in 2019, slightly higher than the 5.1 percent of workers who worked multiple jobs in the U.S.

213,562
The number of unemployed Oregonians in July 2020. Nationwide, approximately 16 million individuals were unemployed in July of this year.

254,959
The number of union members in Oregon in 2019. About 14 percent of Oregon's workers are union members. The membership rate for private-sector workers (7.3%) was much lower than the rate for public-sector workers (53.2%). Nationwide, the union membership rate was 10.3 percent in 2019.

$20.34
The estimated median hourly wage for all occupations in Oregon in May 2020. The Portland metro area had the highest median hourly wage of Oregon's metro areas at $23.20. Nationwide, the estimated median hourly wage was $19.14 in May 2019.

23.7
The average commute time (in minutes) to work in Oregon in 2017. The United States average was higher at 26.6 minutes in 2018.

6.8%
The percentage of workers 16 and over that worked from home in 2018 in Oregon, which was higher than the nationwide average of 4.9 percent.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

1.7 Million Oregonians Lived in a Household Where There Was a Loss in Employment Income in July

The U.S. Census Bureau developed the Household Pulse Survey in order to measure the experiences of households during the COVID-19 pandemic. This experimental data series is a valuable tool for us in understanding how the pandemic is impacting Oregonians at the household level. The U.S. Census Bureau began collecting weekly responses on April 23rd, roughly a month after the onset of the direct impacts from the pandemic, and continued the weekly survey through the last week in July.

As of the last week of the survey an estimated 1.7 million Oregonians lived in a house where someone experienced a loss in employment income. In many instances loss of employment income was due to businesses closing or layoff events. However, a large number of workers have seen their pay cut or hours reduced in response to the economic shock. According to the Small Business Pulse Survey, also developed by the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly one out of four businesses reduced the hours worked by paid employees. The loss of employment income is the most direct and important impact measured by the Household Pulse Survey.
Although an estimated 1.7 million Oregonians lived in a house where someone saw their employment income decline during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of workers who have seen a net loss in income is likely much lower. Many workers have received additional unemployment insurance benefits due to federal legislation that added $600 to the weekly unemployment insurance benefit amount and expanded the program to assist self-employed workers and others not typically covered by unemployment insurance. However, as of the end of July the federal boost to unemployment insurance expired, likely resulting in more households feeling the impact of the loss in employment income.

One of the more revealing questions asked of respondents in the weekly pulse survey was, do you expect to lose employment income in the next four weeks? For the last week of the survey (July 16-21st) it was estimated that roughly 37 percent of Oregon adults expected someone in their household to have a loss in employment income in the next four weeks. Responses for this particular question were highest during the first few weeks of the survey then gradually began to decline. However, over the past several weeks workers became more pessimistic, with the share of adults expecting a loss of employment income in the coming weeks up 8 percentage points from the end of June.

Is this pessimism related to businesses using up their Pay Check Protection (PPP) loans? The continued growth in COVID-19 cases? Or, the expiration of expanded UI benefits? It is impossible to know exactly, but it is revealing that Oregonians didn’t feel any more secure as of the end of July compared with the depths of the stay-at-home orders in late April and May.

Read Regional Economist Damon Runberg's full article here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

July 2020 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

In July 2020, 35 of Oregon’s 36 counties experienced over-the-month decreases in their unemployment rates. In 19 counties, unemployment rates dropped by 1 percentage point or more. Clatsop County experienced the largest over-the-month decrease at 2.6 percentage points. Counties with the smallest percentage point changes in their unemployment rates since June 2020 include Lake (+/-0.0pp), and Harney, Malheur, and Union (-0.2pp each).

Lincoln County had Oregon’s highest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 15.2 percent. Other counties with some of the highest unemployment rates in July include Clatsop (12.9%), Multnomah (12.7%), and Curry (11.9%).

Wheeler County registered the lowest unemployment rate for the month at 5.3 percent. Other counties with some of the lowest unemployment rates in July were Morrow (6.0%) and Malheur (7.1%). Twenty-four counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 10.4 percent. Twenty-two counties also had unemployment rates at or below the national rate of 10.2 percent.

Total nonfarm payroll employment declined sharply in all six of Oregon’s broad regions between July 2019 and July 2020. The largest job losses occurred in the Coast region (-13.6%). Central Oregon (-9.0%), Portland-5 (-8.9%), and the Willamette Valley (-7.0%) also experienced large over-the-year employment losses.

Read the original press release here

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Spring 2020 Hiring Among Oregon Private Employers

Each quarter, the Oregon Employment Department surveys private employers from all industries and areas of the state to ask about the job vacancies they are actively trying to fill. Oregon businesses reported 42,500 vacancies in spring 2020. Total job openings fell from winter levels (-10%), and dropped well below the level last spring (-18%). The spring 2020 Oregon Job Vacancy Survey included a new question: “Is this location closed or operations curtailed due to COVID-19 restrictions?” About 18 percent of responding businesses reported being curtailed or closed due to COVID-19. But employers continued to hire in the spring, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the spring of 2020, businesses reported hiring in various industries. Administrative, management, and waste services topped the industry list in spring, totaling 10,500. Vacancies for janitors and cleaners, and stockers and order fillers surged in the spring. Health care and social assistance dropped to second-most vacancies, with 8,700 vacancies. This has been the sector with the most vacancies in 16 of the past 18 quarters. Leisure and hospitality had about 4,800 vacancies in spring, down from an estimated 7,700 vacancies in winter. Leisure and hospitality businesses reported the most closures and curtailed operations due to COVID-19, affecting 39 percent of businesses in the industry compared with 18 percent overall.

Most openings in the spring were for full-time, permanent positions. The average starting wage reported in spring was $17.37, down 4 percent from the average in spring 2019. Total vacancies were down 18 percent in the spring compared with last year, with the greatest declines among jobs paying more than $25 per hour. The number of vacancies paying less than $15 per hour dropped just 6 percent.

Spring vacancies were distributed across the state, with the Portland tri-county area accounting for two out of five. Vacancies dropped the most over the year in Clackamas County and the East Cascades. Northwest Oregon, Lane County, and Eastern Oregon also had large declines.

To learn more about hiring in spring 2020, read Senior Economic Analyst Anna Johnson's full article here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Oregon Jobs Recovery Slows in July

Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 20,500 jobs in July, following a gain of 57,000 jobs in June. Over the past three months, employers added back 38 percent of the jobs that were cut in March and April.

Over-the-month job gains in July were largest in leisure and hospitality (+7,300 jobs); government (+5,700); retail trade (+3,600); health care and social assistance (+3,100); and professional and business services (+1,900). Meanwhile, three of the major industries cut a substantial number of jobs in July: construction (-1,900 jobs); manufacturing (-1,500); and information (-1,200).

Over the past five months the major industries were impacted differently by the pandemic. Leisure and hospitality suffered by far the largest job loss during March and April, shedding 118,700 jobs during the outset of the pandemic-induced drop in business. Then, between April and July, the industry regained half of the loss, as it rebounded by 58,900 jobs over the past three months. Three industries regained more than half of their lost jobs. Health care and social assistance regained two-thirds of its lost jobs, with a rebound of 18,700 jobs over the past three months. During that time, two industries regained nearly two-thirds of their lost jobs: other services (+9,300 jobs, or a 63% rebound) and retail trade (+13,900 jobs, or 62%).

However, several key industries experienced substantial job losses in March and April but have not rebounded substantially or have even declined further over the past three months. The following industries shed jobs between April and July: government (-5,200 jobs); manufacturing (-3,100); and information (-1,900). Most of the other major industries have regained fewer than 5,000 jobs each over the past three months while regaining less than a third of jobs lost during March and April. These industries include construction; financial activities; private education; professional and business services; and transportation, warehousing, and utilities.

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 10.4 percent in July from 11.6 percent, as revised, in June. In July, Oregon’s unemployment rate was very close to the U.S. unemployment rate; the U.S. rate dropped to 10.2 percent in July from 11.1 percent in June.


Read the original press release here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Oregon Labor Force Participation Rates by County, 2019

Labor force participation rates for Oregon’s counties in 2019 ranged from a high in Hood River County of 78.9 percent to a low in Curry County of 44.1 percent.

Generally, counties located in the Northern part of Oregon, and especially in the Columbia River Gorge, had higher LFPRs in 2019. Counties located along the coast, and in the Southern and Eastern parts of Oregon generally had lower LFPRs.


One factor associated with a county’s LFPR is the age composition of the population in that county. LFPRs vary by age group. People age 65 years and over have the lowest LFPRs of all age groups (19.3% in Oregon for 2019), as many individuals in this category are retired. Generally, Oregon counties that have a higher percentage of the population age 65 years and over tend to have lower labor force participation rates. The counties with the lowest LFPRs in Oregon tend to have higher percentages of the population that are age 65 years and over relative to other counties in Oregon – Curry County (35.0%), Crook County (25.2%), and Coos County (26.5%). On the other hand, the counties with the highest LFPRs all have low percentages of the population that are age 65 years and over – Hood River County (16.3%), Washington County (13.9%), and Multnomah County (13.9%).

Those in the age range of 16 to 24 years have a lower LFPR than the overall average; nearly 3.0 percentage points lower than the statewide average in Oregon in 2019. The counties in Oregon with the highest percentage of the population between the ages of 15 to 24 in 2019 – Benton County (25.8%), Polk County (16.3%), Lane County (15.6%), and Union County (14.9%) – are each home to a sizable university relative to the overall county population. As the presence of a university boosts an area’s population in this age range, the result is downward pressure on the LFPR since this age group tends to participate less in the labor force due to school attendance and related activities. The counties mentioned above all have LFPRs that were lower than the statewide average in 2019.

To learn more about Labor Force Participation Rates by County, read Local Area Unemployment Statistics Coordinator Tracy Morrissette's full article here

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

June 2020 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

In June 2020, all 36 of Oregon’s counties experienced over-the-month decreases in their unemployment rates. In 16 of Oregon’s 36 counties, unemployment rates dropped by 3 percentage points or more. Clatsop County experienced the largest over-the-month decrease at 8.1 percentage points. Counties with the smallest percentage point changes in their unemployment rates since May 2020 include Wheeler (-0.3pp), Gilliam (-0.6pp), and Lake and Morrow (-0.4pp). 

Lincoln County had Oregon’s highest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 17.0 percent. Other counties with some of the highest unemployment rates in June include Clatsop (15.2%), Crook (13.5%), and Curry (13.4%).

Wheeler County registered the lowest unemployment rate for the month at 5.7 percent. Other counties with some of the lowest unemployment rates in June were Morrow (7.0%) and Malheur (7.4%). Twenty-two counties had unemployment rates below the national rate of 11.1 percent. Twenty-three counties also had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 11.2 percent.



Total nonfarm payroll employment declined sharply in all six of Oregon’s broad regions between June 2019 and June 2020. The largest job losses occurred in the Coast region (-14.8%) and Central Oregon (- 11.6%). Eastern Oregon (-10.4%), the Willamette Valley (-8.5%), and Southern Oregon (-8.0%) also experienced large over-the-year employment losses.

Read the original press release here.