Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Job Growth: Oregon Employment Rose by 6,900 in May

Oregon's monthly job growth hit a 16-month high in May, with an employment gain of 6,900. That's the largest single-month job gain in the state since January 2011.

All job growth between April and May occurred in the private sector. Private employment rose by 7,400 jobs in May, and has grown by 19,600 (or 1.5%) since May 2011. Two industries have added the most jobs both over the month and over the past year: trade, transportation, and utilities; and professional and business services. Government employment dropped by 500 jobs in May, and has declined by 6,400 (-2.2%) since May 2011.

The state posted an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent in May, essentially unchanged from April's rate of 8.5 percent. Oregon's labor force grew to 1,991,600 in May, and the number of unemployed persons edged down to 168,200. There were 68,100 Oregonians -- two out of every five of the unemployed -- who had been jobless for more than six months. More information about Oregon's employment situation in May is available in the full news release.

Our news release author, Economist David Cooke, came across an article in the Wall Street Journal which questioned if changes to the seasonal adjustment of data might have overstated payroll employment numbers in the first quarter of 2012. The Bureau of Labor Statistics updates the factors used for seasonal adjustment each year (see previous post with details on seasonal adjustment). 

He put the theory to the test by using both pre-recession and current seasonal adjustment factors with the state's first quarter employment numbers. The result? The old seasonal adjustment factors produced higher monthly job gains in Oregon than what were actually reported. In other words, the current seasonal factors did not create an overstatement of Oregon's employment numbers. 

No comments: