Oregon April non-farm jobs increased 3,900 over March. The April labor market update was posted by the Oregon Employment Department on Tuesday. This is the largest month-on-month increase since October 2007. Using the 3,900 jobs to calculate an annualized growth rate yields 3.0 percent, see the chart below.
The 3,900 jobs gained comprised of 2,800 government jobs where 1,300 of these were Federal. The Federal jobs, of course, were likely related to the Census effort that is underway. That leaves 1,100 private sector jobs gained. The annualized growth rate for non-farm private sector jobs is 1.0 percent. These gains were brought by Personal & Maintenance Services (600 jobs), the Financial Services (400 jobs), Education & Healthcare (200 jobs), and Construction (100 jobs). While the job gains in Education and Healthcare are nothing new in this cycle, the gains in the other three sectors are new. Monthly data are intrinsically volatile. We will wait for at least two more months of similar data before claiming that a trend of improvement for Personal & Maintenance Services, Financial Services, and Construction sectors are underway.
The April Oregon unemployment rate remained at 10.6 percent, unchanged from the May level. This was driven by the fact that the labor force grew, which offset the jobs increase. This phenomenon might continue in the next few months: a slowly recovering economy might bring sidelined workers back into the labor force, but job growth might not be strong enough to absorb all of them, keeping the unemployment rate high. It is also possible that the unemployment rate might subside, but only slowly. This is likely to be the pattern that exists for most of 2010.