Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) was not surprised by the spike in the state’s unemployment last month. But, it was a record setter.* The Bureau of Labor Statistics summary released yesterday reports that Oregon’s employment rate decreased 1.3% last month--the worst decrease among the 50 states.
Oregon reported the largest over-the-month percentage decrease in employment (-1.3 percent), followed by Arizona and Washington (-1.0 percent each), Connecticut and Georgia (-0.9 percent each), and California, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin (-0.8 percent each).
The decrease in employment pushed Oregon to 3rd worst jobless rate in the nation (from 5th worst jobless rate a month earlier). In February Oregon’s jobless rate jumped to 10.8% (up from the reported January rate of 9.9%--later adjusted to 9.8%). Only Michigan and South Carolina saw a higher unemployment rate in February.
In February, Michigan again reported the highest jobless rate, 12.0 percent. The states with the next highest rates were South Carolina, 11.0 percent; Oregon, 10.8 percent; North Carolina, 10.7 percent; California and Rhode Island, 10.5 percent each; and Nevada, 10.1 percent.
Over the space of a year Oregon had the second largest jobless rate increase (5.4%) behind North Carolina (5.5%).
North Carolina reported the largest jobless rate increase from a year earlier (+5.5 percentage points), followed by Oregon (+5.4 points) and South Carolina (+5.3 points).
Apart from hopes for help from federal stimulus funds neither Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) or the Democratically controlled Oregon state legislature have reacted with further proposals on how to slow Oregon’s increasing unemployment or at least bring it near the national average. Kulongoski saw the decline as a trend to be endured.
"We're in a very steep decline," Kulongoski said. "Economists tell us this is a trend that may last until the middle of this year."
*The Oregonian did not think the BLS summary and Oregon's worsening position worth either a front page story (or, apparently, any story since a search of the Oregonian website turns up no story yesterday or today on Oregon's unemployment surge relative to the rest of the nation).