Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oregon's December Employment Situation

This morning the Oregon Employment Department released the December employment numbers and unemployment rate.

At 10.6 percent, Oregon extended the streak of an essentially unchanged jobless rate to 14 months. The national jobless rate declined slightly over the month, from 9.8 percent in November to 9.4 percent in December. As state employment economist Nick Beleiciks explained in this morning's press release, the state and U.S. difference in unemployment trends is due in part to an increasing labor force keeping the rate high in Oregon, while the labor force is declining at the national level.

Employment dropped by 1,800 jobs in December, following a revised gain of 2,800 jobs in November. Oregon's private sector saw its fourth consecutive month of employment gains in December (+400 jobs), but these were more than offset by by declines in government (-2,200). The largest over-the-month gain occurred in professional and business services (+1,900), and the biggest loss aside from government occurred in manufacturing (-1,900). The manufacturing sector now sits at its lowest employment level since at least 1990.

From December 2009 to December 2010, total employment increased by 11,900. Professional and business services (+7,200) and trade, transportation, and utilities (+3,500) saw the highest over-the-year gains, while construction (-2,800) and manufacturing (-2,500) experienced the largest declines.

Additional details are available in the full press release. You can watch the press conference on (the schedule of release dates is also on the home page).

* Employment is for nonfarm establishments; employment and unemployment are seasonally adjusted.

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