A New Reemployment Report from the Oregon Employment Department

Posted on August 24, 2022

The pandemic recession brought unparalleled job losses – in both speed and scale – to Oregon in March and April 2020. Two years later, the state’s labor market has experienced a remarkable turnaround.

  • Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employers have regained nine out of 10 jobs lost in spring 2020.
  • Oregon’s unemployment rate is near its all-time record low again.
  • The state’s labor force has also grown to new record-high levels, and labor force participation has reached its highest rate in a decade.

As Oregon moved from high unemployment to rapid re-employment, seven out of 10 pandemic recession unemployment claimants were found in Oregon’s payroll records again by winter 2022. Three out of 10 were not found working for a covered payroll employer 18 months after their job separation.

  • The largest share (36%) of claimants were recalled to and still working for the employer that laid them off. Sectors with the highest rates of returning workers included education services, public administration, and manufacturing.
  • Another 12% took new jobs with different employers in the same sector of the economy.
  • Sectors most likely to have workers take new jobs with a different employer in their sector included health care and social assistance and leisure and hospitality.

As a cohort, pandemic recession unemployment claimants had greater re-employment rates than their counterparts laid off in non-recessionary times. Pandemic recession claimants also stood apart in terms of their post-layoff earnings.

  • By 18 months after their job separation, pandemic recession claimants were more likely to still be found working with a covered payroll employer and working in the same sector of the economy than unemployment claimants from the same timeframe in 2016.
  • Oregon’s pandemic recession unemployment claimants had stronger wage growth than their unemployed counterparts in an expansionary period in 2016.
  • The pandemic recession cohort also experienced better wage gain outcomes than all Oregon workers – unemployed or not – between the first half of 2020 and the end of 2021.

More details are available in the full report at QualityInfo.org.


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