Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Oregon's Job Gains and Rising Economic Indicators

This morning the Oregon Employment Department released the preliminary employment estimates and the unemployment rate for Oregon in February.

Initial estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show a seasonally adjusted gain of 6,800 jobs in Oregon. The private sector added 6,000 jobs over the month, while the public sector added 800 jobs. Revised estimates for January indicate that Oregon added 5,400 jobs, which was 1,200 more than the gain of 4,200 jobs initially reported.

Oregon's unemployment rate remained at 8.4 percent in February, which matched the January rate, and was not significantly different from the 8.9 percent unemployment rate in February 2012. Oregon's labor force participation rate fell to 62.6 percent. That matches the lowest participation rate on record, which occurred in 1976 when the data series began. State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks noted that the low participation rate reflects the aging population, lower teen participation in the labor force, and a labor market that's still relatively weak.

Yesterday, the University of Oregon released the latest economic indicators for the state. Both the Oregon Measure of Economic Activity and the UO Index of Economic Indicators rose in January. Tim Duy, who authors the monthly release and serves as director of the Oregon Economic Forum, noted that "the patters of recent improvement suggest the economy will improve further as 2013 progresses." Duy also mentioned that fiscal contraction -- in the form of higher taxes and lower spending -- will likely weigh on activity in the first half of this year.

You can find more information about Oregon's employment situation in the Department's news release, or get more details about the University of Oregon Economic Indicators from their latest release.

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