Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oregon Jobs Up in January

Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 8.8 percent in January from the December rate of 9.0 percent. The state's unemployment rate has generally been declining for the past two and a half years. The January rate is the lowest in Oregon since November 2008.

Total nonfarm payroll employment in Oregon showed a seasonally adjusted gain of 5,400 jobs in January. Manufacturing (+1,700 jobs) led the way, followed by trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,300); educational and health services (+1,200); and financial activities (+1,100).

Each year the Bureau of Labor Statistics revises the nonfarm payroll employment data for prior years. This process results in more accurate data; initial estimates are based on a monthly survey of business establishments, but the revised data reflect businesses' quarterly tax reporting. The latest revisions show that Oregon's economy was slightly stronger in late 2010 than originally reported, and somewhat weaker than originally reported during 2011.

Despite the decline in the state's unemployment rate and the January job gains, we recently found a less encouraging trend when we looked at the average annual number of unemployed persons and the duration of unemployment in Oregon.

We found that while the number of unemployed Oregonians has declined over the last two years, the mean duration of unemployment continued to rise. That means that on average, unemployed Oregonians are remaining unemployed for a longer period of time. From 2009 to 2010, the average length of unemployment rose from 21 weeks to 35 weeks, although the number of unemployed Oregonians dropped by 7,600 over the year. From 2010 to 2011, there were 23,000 fewer unemployed Oregonians, but the average duration of unemployment rose again, reaching 38 weeks.
For more employment and unemployment information, visit the Current Employment Statistics and Local Area Unemployment Statistics pages at QualityInfo. You can also find a summary of the latest statewide news in this month's employment news release.

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