Thursday, November 19, 2020

COVID-19 Job Losses by Sector and the Two-Week Freeze

 During the spring implementation of health and safety measures related to COVID-19, Oregon lost one out of every seven nonfarm payroll jobs. The loss of 285,000 jobs (-14.5%) in March and April was both stunning and unparalleled. By October, Oregon had regained nearly half (132,000 or 46%) of the spring job loss. 

Both the initial job losses and the recovery have differed quite a bit across different areas of Oregon's economy. Leisure and hospitality -- including restaurants, bars, performing arts venues, and indoor recreation places -- lost the most jobs by far (110,500), with half of all employment either temporarily idled or permanently gone. One out of four jobs were shed in other services, which includes barber shops and salons. And private education services declined by 8,200 jobs, or one out of every five jobs. To some degree, each of these hard-hit service sectors has recovered over the past six months. Yet taken together, they remain 71,600 jobs below their February level. 

In local government -- about half of which is public K-12, community college, and university education -- employment has continued to decline throughout the year. After losing 15,400 jobs in the spring (-6.7%), local government lost another 10,600 jobs by October. 

As Oregon moves into the two-week freeze, we estimate 51,000 potentially affected, current jobs at businesses. Most of those effects are expected to occur in the accommodation and food services portion of leisure and hospitality, with the temporary return to delivery and takeout only for those employers.

That's not to say those job losses will show up in the employment trends as above. The current freeze timeframe (November 18 to December 2, except the Portland area) falls in between the time periods in November and December that households and businesses are asked about their employment situation.

One sector does stand out as a shining star in 2020: transportation, warehousing, and utilities. The sector made up of the package deliveries to our doors and the distribution system to get them there was 5.2 percent above its February level by October, and up by 8.1 percent over the past year. That's stellar growth in any economy, and a stark contrast to the rest of Oregon's economy during the pandemic. As we go through the freeze period and into the holiday season, the sector is poised to continue its surge, at least in the short term.

More information about the disparate impacts of COVID-19 recession job losses can be found in the full article.

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