October 19, 2020
Both the state of Washington and Oregon reported employment numbers for September and the picture is one of improvement. Washington’s economy added 2,400 jobs in September and the state’s unemployment rate for September decreased from 8.4% to 7.8%. Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 8% percent in September from 8.5% in August.
Washington’s unemployment rate has dropped from a peak of 16.3% in April 2020, while Oregon’s has decreased from 14.9% in April 2020.
Washington’s Employment Security Department’s Paul Turek, an economist for the department, says, “Payroll growth slowed markedly in September. A shift to remote learning apparently led to less government hiring than usual this time of year, which showed up largely in local education.”
Private sector employment in Washington increased by 12,100 jobs while government employment decreased by 9,700 jobs in September. The bulk of the monthly gains came in leisure and hospitality (6,700), though it was the sector hit hardest during the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington lost an estimated 203,900 jobs from September 2019 through September 2020. The three industry sectors with the largest employment losses year-over-year were: leisure and hospitality (down 90,100 jobs), manufacturing (down 27,100 jobs) and government (down 24,800 jobs).
Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 5,100 jobs in September, following a gain of 16,200 jobs in August. Over the past three months the rate of job growth slowed, with 39,000 jobs added in that time, following more rapid growth in May and June, when 83,100 jobs were added. Despite the recent slowdown, Oregon employers added jobs in each of the past five months, and the state has recovered 45% of the jobs cut in March and April, reported the Oregon Employment Department.
The sectors recording the largest monthly job gains in Oregon in September included leisure and hospitality (2,600 jobs); financial activities (1,600); health care and social assistance (1,600); retail trade (1,500); and information (1,200).
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