LA GRANDE — The jobs lost in Oregon during coronavirus-related shutdowns are starting to come back — but there is a long way to go.
A press release Tuesday from the Oregon Employment Department showed the state gained 56,600 jobs in June, more than double the 26,100 jobs the state added in May. The more than 82,000 jobs added dropped the state’s unemployment rate to 11.2%, and represents just close to one-third (31%) of the jobs lost during March and April, when stay-at-home orders were put in place. The rate fell to a level on par with the nation, which had a rate in June of 11.1%.
The number of continued unemployment claims in the state, which averaged just more than 25,000 during the first three months of the year then spiked to more than 194,000 in April and May, dropped to 153,831 in June, according to date from the OED.
Those from 25-44 years old account for about half (75,706) of those continuing to file unemployment claims.
The state was at 1,955,700 nonfarm jobs at the time of the February report. There were 13,200 fewer jobs at the time of the March report before the total plummeted to 1,689,700 in April, a drop of 266,000 jobs from February. The current total still is 183,300 off the count in February.
Initial claims in Union County, which reached as high as 307 in a week in late March, 311 in early April and hung above 265 weekly for a month, have dropped closer to pre-pandemic levels. The county reported 96 new first-time claims the week ending June 20, 90 the week ending June 27 and 57 the week ending July 4, the lowest total since 50 were reported the week ending May 30.
Leisure and hospitality had the biggest rebound statewide in June, adding 31,400 jobs. That gives it a two-month total of 47,600 according to the OED press release, but still just 39% of the more than 121,000 lost the prior two months.
Manufacturing, the hardest-hit sector in Union County during the pandemic with more than half its jobs slashed from March to May — a drop from 1,310 to 650 — saw a small uptick at the state level in June. Statewide, there were 13,900 manufacturing jobs lost from March to May in Oregon, and about 26% of those jobs (3,700) were brought back in June. The total at the county level for June won’t be released until later in the month.
Baker County, according to data on the OED website, was hardest hit in the leisure and hospitality industry — 270 of the 890 job losses shown from March to May.
One analytical group said Oregon’s recovery from the pandemic was the best in the nation during the last week in June and beginning of July. The site WalletHub marked Oregon’s change in unemployment claims in the week June 29 as compared to the week of Jan. 1 — 9,771 vs. 6,714, an increase of 45.5% — was the “quickest recovery in the U.S.”