Job Growth Stalls Out

News Release
August 12, 2004 Download PDF

Current Jobs Downturn Twice as Long as 1990s Recession

[Revised with new data from the Oregon Employment Department: August 24, 2004]

Analysis of employment figures released today reveals that Oregon's current jobs downturn is more than twice as long as the prior downturn in the early 1990s. Because job growth in Oregon stalled out in July, the state likely will retain its position as one of the worst job markets in the country.

"It’s now been 44 months - more than three and a half years - since Oregon’s jobs downturn began," Michael Leachman, policy analyst at the Oregon Center for Public Policy said, "and still jobs have not recovered to their pre-recession levels. That makes the recent jobs downturn more than twice as long as the early 1990s recession." During the early 1990s, jobs returned to their pre-downturn peak in just 20 months.

Today, the Oregon Employment Department released new jobs figures indicating that Oregon added just 600 jobs above seasonal expectations, a near standstill.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy, a non-profit research institute in Silverton, reviewed the new jobs numbers and found that the stall-out in job growth means that there are still 21,500 fewer jobs in Oregon than there were before Oregon started losing jobs in November 2000.

"There are fewer jobs in Oregon today than before the downturn," said Leachman, "and at the same time there are also more working-age Oregonians. Oregon has fewer jobs than before the recession, and about 100,000 more people of working age, he said.

The anemic job growth also means that Oregon is unlikely to relinquish its position as one of the worst job markets in the country. "Oregon’s unemployment rate has been #1 or #2 worst in the nation for three full years now," said Leachman. "Oregon reached number one in July 2001 and has been either first or second since then, for 36 months, through June of this year."

"The stalling of job growth in July is disappointing for Oregon’s workers, who have waited long enough for economic recovery," Leachman said.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy uses research and analysis to advance policies and practices that improve the economic and social prospects of low- and moderate-income Oregonians, the majority of Oregonians.

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