Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Unemployment Rate Up To 5.6%

From the Oregonian:

Oregon lost jobs in May for a third consecutive month -- the first time that's happened since early 2003 -- as the state's unemployment rate rose to 5.6 percent.
Payroll employment dropped by 3,700, on a seasonally adjusted basis, reaching 1,735,200, the lowest level since October. Job losses hit construction, manufacturing and professional and business services again in May, and spread to the trade, transportation and utilities sector.
But the three-month decline has not come close to the deepest monthly losses in downturns during each of the past three decades. In addition, some resilient sectors of Oregon's economy, such as educational and health services, have protected the state from unemployment highs reached during 2003, for example.
"The employment trends are showing a modest downturn," said David Cooke, an Oregon Employment Department economist. "There are substantial corrections in certain industries -- construction and manufacturing, notably -- and other industries continue to add jobs."
Manufacturing lost 2,300 jobs in May, seasonally adjusted. Construction lost 1,600; trade, transportation and utilities also trimmed 1,600; and professional and business services dropped 1,000.
If not for educational and health services, a sector that added 1,400 jobs during a month when it usually loses 2,100, Oregon's economy would look much worse. If not for strong government hiring, for instance, unemployment would be higher. And if not for recently cashed U.S. economic-stimulus checks, retail trade -- down 3,200 jobs, seasonally adjusted, since February -- would likely be in worse trouble.