Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Oregon's Nonfarm Payrolls Shed 25,500 Jobs in December

Oregon lost 25,500 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate rose to 6.4%. Oregon closed out 2020 having added back 37% of the 285,000 jobs we lost in the spring. Job losses also occurred nationally (-140,000) in December, and the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 6.7%. The U.S. has regained 56% of jobs lost in the COVID-19 recession.

Three sectors in Oregon topped the list in terms of most jobs added in December, with a gain of 2,200 each:
  • Transportation, warehousing, and utilities growth reflected a surge in holiday hiring, and heightened pandemic demand, for package deliveries and the associated distribution system that gets them to your door. 
  • Retail trade also saw a seasonal shopping bump.
  • Private health care and social assistance has generally been back on its long-run growth trend, although it remains 9,600 jobs below February 2020.

Sectors with the largest monthly declines in December: 

Leisure and hospitality took the brunt of the losses. As of November, the sector had regained half (56,400) the 110,500 jobs lost in the spring. Roughly half of those recovered jobs were lost in December (-28,600). Leisure and hospitality consists of two parts:

  • Accommodation and food services (restaurants and bars), which shed 24,800 jobs over the month.
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation employers dropped 3,800 jobs over the month. This portion of leisure and hospitality is now at a lower employment level than it was in April, the point from which overall employment began to recover.

Private education services declined by 1,700 jobs in December, and is also below its April employment level. Local government employment (half of which is K-12 or higher education) also continued to decline in December, dropping by 1,100 jobs. Local government now has fewer jobs than it did in April, and is 27,500 jobs below its December 2019 level.

One bright spot in a dismal jobs year: 

Transportation, warehousing, and utilities was the only broad sector of the economy that added jobs between December 2019 and December 2020. Its impressive 8.1% rate of growth (+6,000 jobs) would be extraordinary even during an economic expansion, and remains a sharp contrast to the rest of Oregon’s labor market in 2020.

More details about Oregon's December employment situation can be found in the full news release and video summary.

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