Report: Portland unemployment rate drops to 11.6 percent

Report: Portland unemployment rate drops to 11.6 percent
Job seeker Tim Benton, 51, looks for employment at Central City Concern in Portland, Ore.

This is a press release courtesy of the Oregon Employment Department

The Portland metro area’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined from 12.1 percent in May to 11.6 percent in June. The year-ago rate was 5.3 percent. An estimated 138,300 area residents were unemployed; 75,000 more than one year ago. 

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 12.2 percent in June, while the U.S. rate rose to 9.5 percent.

The decline in Portland’s jobless rate was due to people dropping out of the workforce. The civilian labor force declined by 3,200 in June; the first June decline since the current series began in 1990. Typically thousands of job seekers enter the labor force as schools let out for the summer.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment declined by 4,900 in June. Since peaking in January 2008, the metro area has lost 60,500 jobs; a loss of 5.8 percent. In comparison, U.S. nonfarm employment is down 4.7 percent from its peak.

Construction added jobs for the second consecutive month. June’s gain of 500 followed an increase of 200 in May. Over the year, construction employment is down 11,500 jobs; a decline of 18.3 percent.

Manufacturing employment rose for the first time since last August. Nondurable goods inched up by 100, while durable goods was flat. Over the year, manufacturing employment is down 12,000 jobs; a decline of 9.7 percent.

Trade, transportation, and utilities gained just 200 jobs. Typically summer hiring in retail boosts this sector by well over 1,000 jobs, but retailers added only 500 jobs over the month, while airlines and wholesalers each cut 100 jobs.

Professional and business services employment increased by 800 jobs in June. The temporary help component added 500 jobs following similar gains in May, halting eight months of rapid decline.

Educational and health services declined by 3,800 jobs, with most of the losses in the seasonal educational component. Health services has been relatively flat in the first half of the year, adding 400 jobs since January. Historically this sector adds several thousand jobs during the first 6 months of the year.

Government shed 1,700 jobs in June. Most of the losses came in public education with the end of the school year. Federal government declined by 500.

The Employment Department will release the Portland metropolitan area’s unemployment rate and employment survey data for July 2009 on Monday, August 24.