Oregon unemployment rate climbs in December after 7 months of declines

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Oregon’s unemployment rose to 6.4% in December from 6.0% in November, according to the state Department of Employment.

This was the state’s first monthly increase in its unemployment rate following seven months of declines.

Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 6.7% in both November and December.

Oregon’s over-the-month percent job loss was much greater than nationally.

In December, Oregon lost 1.4% of nonfarm payroll employment while the U.S. shed 0.1%.

Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 25,500 jobs in December, following a revised gain of 2,100 jobs in November.

The drop followed seven consecutive months of gains.

Total nonfarm payroll employment stood at 1,783,300 in December, which was an over-the-year decline from December 2019 of 174,000 jobs, or 8.9%.

“December’s job losses reflect the devastation COVID-19 continues to inflict on the lives and livelihoods of Oregonians. Ten months into the pandemic, Oregon has regained just 37% of the jobs lost in this recession,” said Gail Krumenauer, State Employment Economist with the Oregon Employment Department.

December job losses in Oregon were greatest in leisure and hospitality, which cut 28,600 jobs.

Several other industries also cut at least 800 jobs in December, including private educational services (-1,700 jobs), government (-1,300), wholesale trade (-1,100), manufacturing (-900), and construction (-800). In contrast, four major industries each added thousands of jobs: retail trade (+2,200 jobs); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+2,200); health care and social assistance (+2,200); and professional and business services (+2,100).

Within leisure and hospitality, full-service restaurants cut 17,600 jobs in December, which was the largest drop of its component industries. Full-service restaurants, where in-person dining has been severely reduced due to the pandemic, have cut far more jobs than limited-service eating places which shed 2,000 jobs in December.

On the plus side, reflecting the rapid increase in online shopping, the industries that employ the fulfillment center warehouse workers and package delivery drivers boosted December employment in industries within transportation, warehousing, and utilities. In particular, couriers and messengers added 3,600 jobs in December.

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