Writings and observations

Jobs up

The official stats out today show a positive picture for jobs – on the official unemployment front – regionwide.

Still, the improvement was spotty, and it still doesn’t seem to do much for wage rates, which are at least as critical a factor.

In Washington, the rate was essentually unchanged at 5.6%. The state’s report said that “Discounting the effects of the [recent Boeing] strike, Washington employers added 11,700 jobs over the two-month period, for an average gain of 5,850 jobs each month. ”

Not spectacular, but improvement.

Oregon, which a year ago had the highest unemployment rate in the country, has been marking steady improvement, down now to 6.0% (compared to 6.2% a month ago). Here’s the overall picture:

In October, seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment grew by 1,200. This gain followed average monthly increases of 5,100 over the prior four months. Even though October’s gain was below the average of the prior four months, it kept Oregon’s economy expanding. The change in October employment was elevated by 900 due to the end of a one-month strike in the aerospace industry.

Over the past 12 months, payroll employment added 49,400, or 3.0 percent. This indicates Oregon’s economy has been expanding at an annual rate of close to 3 percent for much of the past two years.

In October, most of the major industry sectors performed slightly better than their normal seasonal trend. Trade, transportation and utilities was an exception, as it added 3,000 more than its typical trend. Pulling down the numbers for the month was leisure and hospitality, which rebounded from a one-month spike in employment and declined by 6,000 in October.

So, something of a mized bag.

In Idaho, the official unemployment rate was even better, at 3.6%, with a record high number of people employed – though the unemployment rate actually rose in October. Most of that, according to the state, had to do with normal seasonal changes. They expected the rate to remain about the same for the rest of the year.

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