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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Employment in Oregon August 2017 News Release - 09/12/17

Oregon's Employment Declines in August

In August, Oregon's nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 9,500 jobs, following a revised gain of 7,400 in July. 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 2016 and August 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.

"August's job losses were an unusually sharp departure from months of very large job gains," said Nick Beleiciks, Oregon's state employment economist. "But looking past recent gains and losses, Oregon's over-the-year job growth continues to be very good."

The decline in August was concentrated in four of the 14 broad industry groups: leisure and hospitality (-3,600 jobs), government (-3,200), financial activities (-1,300), and wholesale trade ( 1,300). None of the major industries added more than 400 jobs.

The drop in leisure and hospitality 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 during the prior 18 months. These restaurants, hotels, and other entertainment establishments now employ 7,100 more workers than in August 2016, an increase of 3.6 percent in the past 12 months.

Similarly, the August government job loss offset the robust hiring in the spring and early summer: While 3,200 jobs were cut in August, 3,500 jobs were added during the prior three months.

Oregon's unemployment rate rose to 4.1 percent in August from 3.8 percent in July. The rate remained near its all time low of 3.6 percent reached in May. Oregon's rate was significantly below its year-ago rate of 5.0 percent in August 2016. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in August 2017.

These preliminary estimates of jobs and other labor force data are produced in cooperation with the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, are based largely on a survey of businesses and a survey of households, and are subject to later revision.

Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the August county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, September 19th, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for September on Tuesday, October 17th.??NLG

All numbers in the above narrative are seasonally adjusted.

The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) work cooperatively to develop and publish monthly Oregon payroll employment and labor force data. The estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other sources.

The Oregon Employment Department publishes payroll employment estimates that are revised quarterly by using employment counts from employer unemployment insurance tax records. All department publications use this Official Oregon Series data unless noted otherwise. This month's release incorporates the January, February and March 2017 tax records data. The department continues to make the original nonfarm payroll employment series available; these data are produced by the BLS.

The pdf version of the news release, including tables and graphs, can be found at www.QualityInfo.org/press-release. To obtain the data in other formats such as in Excel, visit www.QualityInfo.org, then within the top banner, select Economic Data, then choose LAUS or CES. To request the press release as a Word document, contact the person shown at the top of this press release.

For help finding jobs and training resources, visit one of the state's WorkSource Oregon Centers or go to: www.WorkSourceOregon.org.

Equal Opportunity program -- auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

Work Share Program Offers Employers Positive Alternative to Layoffs - 08/30/17

SALEM, OREGON -- A combination of a targeted informational campaign and process improvements led to a substantial increase in usage of the Work Share Program by employers in Oregon. That was the findings from a recent study released by Westat and the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and Social Dynamics.

The study showed an increase in use of the program of 58% in the Portland area, and 100% outside of Portland by employers over a 12 month period.

Work Share is a program that gives employers during a time of economic downturn, an alternative to laying off staff. Through Work Share, an employer may reduce staff work hours, saving labor costs, and the affected workers in turn can receive a partial unemployment benefit payment to help cover lost wages. The major barrier for employers using the Work Share Program, the study confirmed, is being unaware of its existence.

More than 8,400 jobs have been saved by the Work Share program since it began in 1983. Many different types of businesses use the program and experience a variety of benefits through their participation, such as the retention of skilled employees, preservation of quality and efficiency, and an ability to go back to full-time operations as soon as the market allows. Since its inception, the Work Share program has helped more than 1,700 employers avoid layoffs in Oregon.

The Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) of the U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) contracted with Westat and its subcontractors, the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and Social Dynamics, to evaluate the effectiveness of informational campaigns designed to increase employer awareness and use of the Work Share Program, also known as Short-term Compensation. The study covered the programs in Oregon and Iowa.

Throughout the process, the Oregon Employment Department engaged employers around the state through webinars and in-person presentations.

"We understand that government programs are often seen as cumbersome," said Salena De La Cruz, Work Share Project Manager. "We've reduced the paperwork and made the program very accessible. The enhanced program provides a good option for businesses to consider when facing market fluctuations."

Partnering with the Oregon Employment Department, a 12-month informational campaign was designed to educate employers in the Portland area and targeted treatment areas around the state. The campaign included informational mailings, presentations, and internet postings. Throughout the campaign, feedback on Work Share was gathered from employers. Incorporating this feedback, the Oregon Employment Department worked to streamline the application process and promote the program statewide.

In addition to an increased use of the Work Share Program, the study found an increased awareness of the program by employers of more than 30%.

Companies interested in the program can contact a program specialist at 503-947-1800, toll free 1-800-436-6191 or by emailing OED_WorkShare@Oregon.gov.