Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Unemployment Rates in Oregon and Neighboring States

This is a wonderful time of the year to check in with the neighbors. Being the research types that we are, we decided to see what unemployment rates were doing in neighboring states.

Each neighboring state saw significant improvement in its unemployment rate over the year, unlike Oregon’s rate, which has been relatively unchanged since October 2013. That’s because Oregon’s labor force expanded to accommodate the state’s job growth without reducing the number of unemployed by very much. Labor force growth was slower in California and Washington, and was nearly nonexistent in Idaho and Nevada.

Job growth without labor force growth is a recipe for falling unemployment rates. Nevada’s unemployment rate drop was one of the biggest in the nation, falling 2.3 percentage points. That’s because the Silver State added 28,600 jobs in the last 12 months while the labor force grew by just 1,300 people, so those jobs were filled from the pool of unemployed.

Oregon’s unemployment rate has remained relatively stable over the last year and that is not likely to change soon. It is expected to continue to fall slowly, dropping to 6.5 percent over the next three years, according to the latest economic forecast from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.

Thanks to our state employment economist, Nick, for today's guest blog post!

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