Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oregon's Workweek Partially Rebounds

A closely watched measure of state economic activity is average weekly hours for manufacturing production workers. This monthly indicator has been available for Oregon for many years. The measure was close to 40 hours per week in early 2008 but then dropped rapidly as the recession took hold. Its low point was reached in March 2009 at 35.5 hours per week, which was by far the lowest reading in more than seven years.

During the second quarter of 2009, the manufacturing workweek staged a partial rebound, gaining ground in each of the three months to reach 37.9 hours per week by June. The average workweek would need to expand by about one additional hour to reach a more normal figure of 39 hours per week.

Since 2007, the Oregon Employment Department has also produced more broad-based measures of weekly hours. The June 2009 average was 33.1, compared with 34.9 in June 2008 and 34.4 in June 2007.

Thus the last few months have shown the beginnings of a rebound.

By David Cooke, Economist ( or 503-947-1272).
The full version of the article is also available.

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