Oregon’s employment declines in September

The Oregon Employment Department reports that the state’s payroll employment dropped by 5,300 jobs in September, following a revised gain of 3,500 in August. This was the first decline in 36 months, dating back to September 2012 when employment dropped by 1,100. The loss of more than 5,000 jobs in a single month is a rare occurrence during the last six years.


The September jobs report indicates that Oregon’s over-the-year job growth, while strong, has slowed. Between September 2014 and September 2015, payroll employment expanded by 49,500 jobs, or 2.9 percent. This is a reduction from the 3.5 percent job-growth rate seen through August.

The decline in September was spread across eight (out of 14) broad industry groups. Four industries particularly contributed to the decline in jobs this September: construction (-1,800 jobs), retail trade (1,600), professional and business services (-1,300), and leisure and hospitality (-1,600). These industries–and others that lost smaller amounts–have generally been on either an “up and down” pattern in recent months, or on a longterm growth path. So September’s declines should be viewed in the context of a strong over-the-year performance of Oregon’s payroll employment

“September’s losses were a sharp departure from months of rapid job growth in Oregon,” Oregon’s State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks said. “But it’s too early to tell if the losses are just a blip in the recovery or a signal of slower growth this autumn.”

Even with declines in many industries, two industries continued to expand in September: government, which includes public education, added 1,300 jobs and health care and social assistance added 800.

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 6.2 percent in September, compared with 6.1 percent in August. The rate is down from 6.9 percent in September 2014.

These preliminary estimates of jobs and other labor force data are produced in cooperation with the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, are based largely on a survey of businesses and a survey of households, and are subject to later revision.