Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Oregon's Unbalanced Growth After the Great Recession

According to Unemployment Insurance wage records data, the 2008 recession in Oregon, from the peak number of jobs in the first quarter of 2007 to the low in the third quarter of 2009, brought a seasonally adjusted loss of more than 220,000 private-sector jobs. The fourth quarter 2010 total private-sector job count in Oregon was 1.46 million, 11.4 percent lower than the first quarter 2007 peak of 1.65 million jobs.
Higher- and mid-wage industries accounted for nearly 60 percent of total job losses in the 2008 recession, but little more than 31 percent of job growth in the first five quarters of the recovery. Lower-wage industries constituted 41 percent of the job losses and 69 percent of the growth in jobs.

The ratios of job losses to subsequent job growth are striking. Among higher-wage industries, 14 jobs were lost to the recession for every one gained back in the subsequent five quarters of recovery. The mid-wage industry ratio was 12 to one. At the lower-wage end of the spectrum, the ratio was four to one.

In comparison, job growth following the 2001 recession was more in balance with job losses.
Total job losses during the 2001 recession (measured between the first quarter of 2001 and the second quarter of 2003) numbered only about 62,000; nearly 37,000 jobs were gained during the first five quarters of subsequent expansion.

Roughly half the number of jobs lost in higher- and lower-wage industries were gained in the first five quarters after the low point of the recession. Fully three-quarters of mid-wage jobs lost were recovered. Sixty-eight percent of all job losses and 73 percent of all job gains were in mid- and higher-wage industries.

Compared with the 2001 recession, recovery from the 2008 recession was much more tepid in both Oregon and the nation as a whole. During the first year after the end of the 2001 recession, about half the jobs lost nationwide were recovered; the same was true for Oregon. After one year of growth following the 2008 recession, the nation recovered only about 14 percent of the jobs that had been lost. Oregon recovered an even smaller percentage of the jobs it lost: 10 percent in the first year. After five quarters, 14 percent of the state's job losses had been recovered.

Get more information in the full article written by Barbara Peniston, our special projects analyst.

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