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A Pulse On Unemployment In Salem 

Written by Mike LaFirenza on Jun. 17th, 2022
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The impact the pandemic had on employment can’t be overstated, as job losses in the spring of 2020 were comparable to those of the Great Depression. However, unlike prior recessions, the rebound was swift: over 60% of jobs lost returned a year later, and total employment today is just a percentage point lower than the pre-COVID peak. Yet while many locations reported robust employment growth, others have experienced little to none over the past year—and some remain well below March 2020 numbers. Researchers ranked metros by the percentage change in employment between March 2021 and March 2022.

Employment in the Salem metro area has grown 3.3% since last year—a 0.5% increase since the start of the pandemic.

At the national level, many key employment indicators in the U.S. look similar to before the COVID-19 pandemic, and robust employment growth plays a part in that. But the impact the coronavirus had on employment can’t be overstated. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that job losses in the spring of 2020 were comparable to those of the Great Depression. The unemployment rate hit almost 15% at that time; however, unlike prior recessions, the rebound was swift. Over 60% of jobs lost returned a year later, and total employment today is just a percentage point lower than the pre-COVID peak.

According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from March 2021 to March 2022 there were reductions in unemployment rates in 386 of America’s 389 metropolitan areas, and 108 of those areas had jobless rates under 3.0%. In March 2022, the national seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 3.6%, down 2.4 percentage points from the year prior. Similarly, data from the Economic Innovation Group shows that over half of all U.S. metros that experienced job losses during the coronavirus pandemic are on target for full recoveries in the next year.

On the state level, Nevada and California added the most jobs last year, with respective 9.1% and 6.4% increases, each showing a significant rise over the year prior. From March 2022 to March 2020, Nevada had a 0.1% increase in employment, while California had a 0.6% decrease during that two-year period. This means that when compared to the start of the pandemic, employment numbers in these two states are relatively flat. Hawaii also had a dramatic rebound over the past year, with a 6.3% increase from March 2021 to 2022; however, its total employment numbers are still 8.5% below March 2020 levels.

Unlike the three states listed above, which were hit especially hard by declines in travel and tourism, Texas and Florida experienced notable and steady growth over both periods. Employment in each state grew by 5.7–5.9% over the past year, and both are about 2.5% above March 2020 figures. Although to a lesser extent, the same is the case for Georgia, which reported a 5.2% increase in employment over the past year and a 2.2% increase over the past two years.

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Similar trends hold at the local level with select cities in Nevada, California, Texas, Florida, and Georgia reporting robust employment growth. On the other hand, many locations in the South and Midwest have experienced little to no employment growth over the past year, and remain well below March 2020 numbers.

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics dataset. To determine the locations with the most employment growth, researchers at Filterbuy calculated the percentage change in employment between March 2021 and March 2022, considering only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residents. In the event of a tie, the location with the greater total change in employment since March of 2021 was ranked higher.

The analysis found that employment in the Salem metro area has grown 3.3% since last year—a 0.5% increase since the start of the pandemic. Here is a summary of the data for the 

Salem, OR metro area:

Percentage change in employment since 2021: +3.3%

Total change in employment since 2021: +5,500

Percentage change in employment since 2020: +0.5%

Total change in employment since 2020: +800

Current unemployment rate: 3.8%

For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:

Percentage change in employment since 2021: +4.5%

Total change in employment since 2021: +6,494,000

Percentage change in employment since 2020: -0.1%

Total change in employment since 2020: -81,000

Current unemployment rate: 3.6%

Below you’ll find a summary of the analysis with data for the Salem, OR metro area—please feel free to use the link which includes a table with data on more than 350 metros and all 50 states: http://www.filterbuy.com/resources/cities-with-most-employment-growth

Mike LaFirenza

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