Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Dropped to 5.0 Percent in November

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.0 percent in November, from 5.3 percent in October. A year ago, in November 2015, Oregon’s unemployment rate was 5.6 percent.

In November, nonfarm payroll employment grew by 2,500, which was less than the average monthly gain of 4,400 jobs over the prior 12 months. November gains were strongest in professional and business services (+2,700 jobs); construction (+1,000); and financial activities (+700). These gains were partially offset by a weaker-than-normal trend in retail trade (-2,200 jobs). In October, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 3,900 jobs, as revised.

Retail trade did not hire as many workers as expected through November of this holiday shopping season. While the overall economy has posted job growth of 2.7 percent since November 2015, retail has gained less than 1 percent. Within retail there have been pockets of strength, while other areas have cut back. Motor vehicle and parts dealers expanded by 1,000 jobs over the past 12 months, to reach 26,300 in November. Nonstore retailers—such as electronic shopping and mail-order houses—also added 1,000 jobs over the year and employed a total of 9,000 in November. On the down side, two retail industries have cut jobs in the past 12 months: sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-900 jobs); and food and beverage stores (-400).

Construction shot up over the past two months, adding 2,300 jobs in October and another 1,000 in November. These rapid gains followed a plateau between February and September when employment held close to 90,000. The November total of 92,500 was the highest construction employment figure since August 2008 when there were also 92,500 employed in the industry.

Over-the-year growth slowed, as payroll employment grew by 2.7 percent since November 2015. Oregon’s growth was faster than the U.S. growth rate of 1.6 percent. Industries growing the fastest were construction (+6,400 jobs, or 7.4%); other services (+3,400 jobs, or 5.5%); and professional and business services (+10,200 jobs, or 4.4%). No industry declined in that time, but manufacturing (+1,000 jobs, or 0.5%); and retail trade (+400 jobs, or 0.2%) expanded by less than 1 percent.

Read the Oregon Employment Department's full press release

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