As we begin 2021, we are starting to see signs that the economic recovery of the Summer and Fall may be over. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. lost 140,000 jobs in December. The total unemployment is now below 7%, half of where we were in April.
The Portland region reported having 7% less jobs available year over year! Among the 50 largest US Metro regions, Portland ranks 39th for job recovery.
Portland, like the rest of the United States, suffered a dramatic decline in employment in March and April. In relative terms, Portland tracked the U.S. employment trends quite closely until about June. Since July, Portland’s job growth has been noticeably slower than the U.S. as a whole. However in the months of October and November, Portland outperformed job growth while the majority of the nation job growth decreased.
Nationally, we are beginning to see the signs of more serious, broader problems in the labor market. The number of people who have been unemployed for 6 months or longer jumped to 3.9 million in November. While that is a dramatic increase from the 1.2 million last year, it is still well below the historic 6.3 million we saw in late 2010. After reaching a near historic high of 83 percent participation in early 2020, the workforce participation rate of individuals between ages 25 to 54 dropped to another near record of 80 percent. Though these number improved during the Summer, the trend has continued to deteriorate since August of this year.
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