Oregon industries slow to refill jobs slashed by pandemic

Coronavirus

Oregon unemployment rate in July was 10.4%

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon workers who lost their jobs when the pandemic hit continue to have a hard time landing a job as statistics show employers added back only 38% of jobs slashed in March and April.

The Oregon Employment Department on Tuesday said the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 10.4% in July, which nearly mirrored the US rate of 10.2%.

But July saw considerably fewer nonfarm payroll jobs added — 20,500 — than the 57,000 jobs in June.

The leisure-and-hospitality industry regained about half of the jobs lost in March and April, the OED said. Health care and social assistance, plus “other services” and retail trade each regained two-thirds of the lost jobs through July.

But government jobs, manufacturing and information have not rebounded and declined further since April. Construction, financial activities, private education, professional and business services, and transportation, warehousing and utilities all regained less than one-third of jobs lost when the pandemic hit.

The Oregon Employment Department recently cleared a backlog of claims from thousands of filers. But those collecting benefits are now waiting to see if their extended unemployment assistance will once again be restored.

President Trump signed a series of executive actions aimed at economic relief that includes enhanced unemployment benefits — just at a lower dollar amount than before.

Trump’s executive order cuts the benefit to claimants from $600 to $400 a week — but states would have to pay $100 of that amount.

Officials in both Oregon and Washington don’t know how that would work. The Washington Employment Security Departments said they’re assessing Trump’s memo and ask claimants not to call about it. The Oregon Employment Department also said they’re looking into what this means.

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