September 12, 2017 10:20 a.m.
The rate of unemployment in Oregon is up slightly.
A new report from the State of Oregon Employment Department says the state’s nonfarm payroll employment dropped in August by 9,500 jobs, following a revised gain of 7,400 in July. Economist David Cooke says this was the first decline in seven months, dating back to January when employment dropped by 1,300.
The August jobs report indicates that Oregon’s over-the-year job growth, while strong, has slowed. Between August of 2016 and August of 2017, payroll employment expanded by 44,600 jobs or 2.4 percent. This is a reduction from the 3.1 percent job growth rate seen through July.
Nick Beleiciks, Oregon’s state employment economist, says that “August’s job losses were an unusually sharp departure from months of very large job gains”. However he says that the state’s over-the-year job growth continues to be “very good”.
The new report says the August decline was concentrated in four of the 14 broad industry groups: leisure and hospitality, government, financial activities and wholesale trade. Leisure and hospitality were hardest hit, shedding 3,600 jobs.
The drop of that category came on the heels of unusually strong hiring in June and July. The industry’s employment of 206,800 in August is back on the trend line established the prior 18 months. Restaurants, hotels, and other entertainment establishments now employ 7,100 more workers than in August of 2016. That’s an increase of 3.6 percent in the past 12 months.
Similarly, the August government job loss of 3,200 positions offset the robust hiring in the spring and early summer when 3,500 jobs were added in that category.
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 4.1 percent in August from 3.8 percent in July. The rate is still close to the all time low of 3.6 percent reached in May. Oregon’s rate was significantly below the year-ago rate of 5.0 percent in August of 2016. The U.S. unemployment rate in August of this year was 4.4 percent.