Thursday, October 30, 2014

On a seasonally adjusted basis, preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate nonfarm payroll employment in Oregon rose by 3,700 jobs in April. Large gains in leisure and hospitality (+2,600 jobs), manufacturing (+1,200), and other services (+1,100) were partially offset by a drop in construction (-1,200). Revised estimates for March show a gain of 1,300 jobs, when a gain of 1,900 was initially reported.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that construction employment rose by only 1,700 in April when a gain of 2,900 is the normal seasonal movement. This weak showing followed strong gains in February and March. Over the longer term, construction added 1,400 jobs since April 2012, but at 68,100 jobs in April 2013, it was still well below its record April high of 101,500 reached in April 2007.

Manufacturing was expected to add 500 jobs in April due to normal seasonal factors, but added 1,700 instead. This better-than-expected reading put manufacturing back on track with its moderate recovery seen during the prior three years. Seasonally adjusted employment in manufacturing stood at 175,800 in April, which was well above its low point of 162,100 in late 2009.

Economists with the BLS estimate that leisure and hospitality added 4,600 jobs in April, at a time of year when a gain of 2,000 was expected due to seasonal factors. The industry has added employees at an accelerating rate so far this year.

Since April 2012, leisure and hospitality has been one of the fastest growing major industries. Over the past 12 months it added 9,300 jobs, or 5.6 percent. Food services and drinking places, a major component sector, has added 6,600 in that time.

The BLS estimates that in April, other services added 500 jobs when a loss of 600 is the normal seasonal pattern for the month.
This better-than-expected showing puts the industry slightly above its slow-growth trend seen over the past two years. This industry, which includes establishments engaged in repair, maintenance, personal services, and religious organizations, has recovered less than half of the jobs it lost during the 2008-2009 recession.

While several major industries – including manufacturing, construction, and financial activities – remain well below their pre-recession employment peaks, several industries were at record levels in April. Professional and business services employed 199,500 on a seasonally adjusted basis in April. This was slightly above its pre recession peak of 198,900 reached in April 2008.

Earlier this year, leisure and hospitality blew past its prior peak; the industry employed 179,100 in April. And private-sector educational and health services never experienced an employment downturn during the past 20 years. Its employment growth rate slowed over the past year, but at 240,600 jobs it is still in record territory.

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