Douglas County Economic Indicators - July 2023
The July edition of the Douglas County Economic Indicators is attached and available on Quality Info.
Douglas County jobs were essentially unchanged since June of last year. Some industries such as leisure and hospitality and other services (a wide ranging sector including auto repair shops, pet care, and nail salons, as well as many other things) gained a decent number of jobs. At the same time, industries such as manufacturing and particularly professional services lost jobs over the year. The unemployment rate was 4.8% in June, very low in historical context but not at quite the record low level set in late 2019.
With extremely low unemployment, the job market remains tight, as businesses struggle to find workers and jobseekers encounter plentiful opportunities. However, by several measures the labor market may be slackening just a little at the edges, which could have positive implications. One measure that has received a lot of attention recently and that I wanted to look at a bit closer is the “Labor Leverage Ratio (LLR)” popularized by economist Aaron Sojourner at the W.E. Upjohn Institute.
The LLR simply measures the ratio of voluntary quits to layoffs. When the ratio is high, more people are quitting their jobs than are being laid off, signaling that workers are confident they can find employment and businesses are loath to lose workers. A ratio of greater than 1.0 is typical in the last 15 years, except in the depths of recessions like 2009 or 2020, where layoffs spike and quits tend to decline.
In both Oregon and the U.S. the LLR has declined since peaks in 2022. Layoffs have increased slightly while quit totals have come down a bit since mid-2022. Neither trend currently seems to signal a massive souring of the job market; more likely is a slight moderation of the fever pitch experienced last year.
This month’s articles included:
As always, the Indicators contain all the latest economic data on our area. If you have a data question or want to learn more about any of these topics, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Henry L. Fields
Oregon Employment Department