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News Release Information

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:
  • (415) 625-2270

Unemployment in the Portland Area by County, July 2013

All Counties Posted Lower Unemployment Rates than the Previous Two Years

In July, Washington County reported the lowest unemployment rate, 6.8 percent, in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Richard J. Holden, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that Clackamas and Multnomah Counties also registered jobless rates below the national average of 7.7 percent. The remaining four counties in the metropolitan area reported unemployment rates ranging from 8.1 percent in Yamhill County, to 9.0 percent in Skamania County. (See chart 1. The Technical Note at the end of this release contains the metropolitan area definition. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)

In July, all seven counties registered over-the-year unemployment rate declines, with the rate of decline ranging from 2.2 percentage points in Clark County to 0.5 points in Washington County. Nationally, the unemployment rate fell 0.9 percentage points from July a year ago. (See table A).

Table A. Unemployment rates for the United States and counties in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. Metropolitan Statistical Area, July 2013, not seasonally adjusted
AreaUnemployment rateNet change from
July 2011July 2012July 2013July 2011 to July 2013(1)July 2012 to July 2013(1)

United States


Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. MSA


Clackamas County


Columbia County


Multnomah County


Washington County


Yamhill County


Clark County


Skamania County


(1) Data for the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. Metropolitan Statistical Area and its components are preliminary for the most recent month.

All seven Portland area counties also experienced unemployment rate decreases over the two-year period from July 2011 to July 2013. The largest declines occurred in Clark County, down 3.9 percentage points, and Skamania County, down 2.6 points. Columbia County (-2.1 percentage points) and Clackamas County (-1.7 points) also reported two-year declines larger than the nationwide decrease of 1.6 percentage points. Washington County has had the lowest unemployment rate in July each of the last three years.

Technical Note

This release presents unemployment rate data for states and counties from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, a federal-state cooperative endeavor.

Definitions. The labor force and unemployment data are based on the same concepts and definitions as those used for the official national estimates obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a sample survey of households that is conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau. The LAUS program measures employment and unemployment on a place-of-residence basis.  The universe for each is the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over.  Employed persons are those who did any work at all for pay or profit in the reference week (the week including the 12th of the month) or worked 15 hours or more without pay in a family business or farm, plus those not working who had a job from which they were temporarily absent, whether or not paid, for such reasons as labor-management dispute, illness, or vacation. Unemployed persons are those who were not employed during the reference week (based on the definition above), had actively looked for a job sometime in the 4-week period ending with the reference week, and were currently available for work; persons on layoff expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed.  The labor force is the sum of employed and unemployed persons. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percent of the labor force.

Method of estimation.Estimates for the substate areas in this release are prepared through indirect estimation procedures using a building-block approach. Employment estimates, which are based largely on "place of work" estimates from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, are adjusted to refer to place of residence as used in the CPS. Unemployment estimates are aggregates of persons previously employed in industries covered by state unemployment insurance (UI) laws and entrants to the labor force data from the CPS. The substate estimates of employment and unemployment, which geographically exhaust the entire state, are adjusted proportionally to ensure that they add to the independently estimated state or balance-of-state totals. A detailed description of the estimation procedures is available from BLS upon request.

Annual revisions.Labor force and unemployment data for prior years reflect adjustments made at the end of each year, usually implemented with January estimates. The adjusted estimates reflect updated population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, any revisions in the other data sources, and model reestimation.

Area definition. The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, dated December 1, 2009. A detailed list of the geographic definitions is available at

The Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash., Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington, and Yamhill Counties in Oregon; and Clark and Skamania Counties in Washington.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, September 05, 2013