Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Oregon February Employment Picture Looks as Sunny as the Weather

The February Oregon jobs report is out and it looks pretty fantastic.  It has been a long, hard slog but it appears about time to declare the Oregon economy back. Why?  Well unemployment is back below 6% at a very healthy 5.8%, and almost the same as the US unemployment rate (Oregon typically is slightly above).  As the Oregon Employment Department notes, the number of long-term unemployed is way down to 35,000 from a peak of 100,000.  And the U-6 number (the measure of underemployed - those working but not as much as they would like) is down to 12.1%.

It is good to know the worst of the recession is behind us but there is still one stubborn metric that has not moved much - wage rates. Wages in Oregon have risen only 0.8% in the last year.  We should see this increase as the slack in the labor market disappears.

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