Analysis of employment figures released today reveals that Oregonians are 131,500 jobs short of what are needed to keep pace with the growth in the working age population in Oregon since the downturn began, according to a Silverton-based research institute.
The Oregon Center for Public Policy, a group that uses research and analysis to advance policies and practices that improve the economic and social opportunities of low- and moderate-income Oregonians, also raised concerns about the length of the recession and the fact that many Oregonians have seen their Unemployment Insurance run out.
“It has now been almost four years since Oregon started losing jobs,” said Michael Leachman, a policy analyst at the Oregon Center for Public Policy, “and still jobs have not returned to their pre-recession levels.” He noted that in the early 1990s it took just one year and eight months to regain the jobs lost in the downturn. It has been three years and ten months since Oregon started losing jobs in November 2000.
“The jobs numbers are particularly troubling given that President Bush and his Congressional allies refused to extend unemployment benefits at the end of last year,” said Leachman. “Now tens of thousands of unemployed workers are without benefits and Oregon’s job market continues to stagnate.” An estimated 50,800 workers in Oregon have lost their Unemployment Insurance benefits this year, Leachman said.
Today, the Oregon Employment Department released new jobs figures indicating that Oregon lost 4,300 jobs in September compared to seasonal expectations. Unemployment remained essentially unchanged at 7.3 percent.
The Oregon Center for Public Policy reviewed the new jobs numbers and found that the continuing failure of the economy to produce jobs means that there are still 24,200 fewer jobs in Oregon than there were before Oregon started losing jobs in November 2000. When the growth in the working age population is added, Oregon comes up short by 131,500 jobs.
The job decline in September follows two months of meager job gains in July and August. “Oregon’s job market is failing to create enough jobs to cover normal growth in the working age population,” said Leachman, noting that there’s been a 6.6 percent growth in the working age population since jobs last peaked in November 2000.
“If Oregon’s job growth had kept up with the growth in our working age population since November 2000, we’d have 131,500 more employed Oregonians than we have today,” Leachman noted.
“Oregon’s economy was finally showing signs of improvement earlier this year,” said Leachman. “For a full quarter now, Oregon’s job market has been stalled out. If I were an unemployed worker with no benefit check coming in, I’d be disturbed by today’s jobs numbers,” he added.
Leachman noted that in the last quarter – July through September – Oregon lost 2,100 jobs.
The Oregon Center for Public Policy uses research and analysis to advance policies and practices that improve the economic and social opportunities of low- and moderate-income Oregonians, the majority