April Local Employment Numbers Reveal Steep Declines

This afternoon I noticed the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates of employment at the local level are available for April of this year on the St. Louis Federal Reserve publicly available data repository. These appear to be the BLS estimates as the Oregon versions are not available at this time on the State of Oregon  Employment Department website.

As might be expected, all regions experienced steep employment declines; total payrolls were down in the range of 12%-15% compared to April of last year. The  leisure and hospitality industries were particularly hard hit.

While all regions gave up years of job gains, the Eugene-Springfield region was particularly hard hit. According to the posted data, April employment in Eugene-Springfield was 139,000; at the lowest point after the last recession, September  2010, employment was 140,100. In other words, the region gave up nearly 10 years of job grown this past April.

With the state moving into the initial phase of reopening and ending the most strict lockdowns, employment declines will slow and will then stabilize; in some sectors (such as elective medical care, for instance) jobs might rebound fairly quickly. Other sectors, however, will continue to be impacted by social distancing restrictions, especially leisure and hospitality, and be fairly slow to recover. Overall, the recovery to pre-coronavirus employment levels will likely be fairly slow as the economy adapts to the virus.