Happy days are here again for many Canby residents, or so suggests data provided to the Canby Herald by the Oregon Employment Department (ODE).

STOCK PHOTO - Unemployement for the City of Canby dropped t0 2.9 percent in the latest Clackamas County data.Lynn Wallis, a Clackamas County economist in the ODE's research division, provided the Herald with a spreadsheet that shows local area unemployment statistics for Canby, and within the local non-farm-payroll labor force, defined as the sum of Canby residents 16 years old or older who either are looking for work or already are working, the unemployment rate in May 2017 was just 2.9 percent.

Compare that to Canby's unemployment rate of 8.1 percent in January 2013, and that may provide one glimpse into why there is so much more traffic now on Highway 99E than there was just a few years ago — Oregon residents (and there are more of them) who live and work in the northern Willamette Valley are back to work everywhere.

"This data is estimated by 'place of residence,' meaning where the labor force — those working or looking for work — live," Wallis said. "In this case all of the labor force who live within the City of Canby."

Additionally, signs of a so-called tight labor market include falling measures of underutilized labor and a decrease in the number of people who are considered chronically, or long-term, unemployed. The number of Oregonians who have been unemployed for more than six months decreased to 10,700 in June, the lowest on record dating back to June 2002, the ODE states.

Compare that to the aftermath of The Great Recession when 100,000 Oregonians were considered chronically unemployed, and it's easy to see why the argument makes sense that "suddenly" there is more traffic on city, state and county roads as a result of people getting back to work, not just new residents moving into the region.

Wallis also shared information about a point many conspiracy theorists like to argue — the typically-used unemployment rate report is not the "real" unemployment rate.

In fact, there are six unemployment rates the state of Oregon considers in estimating percentages of the overall workforce, and they are labeled U1 - U6.

U1 is defined as people unemployed for 15 weeks or more. U2 is people who completed temporary jobs or who lost their job for any reason. U3, the common figure used by states and in typical news reports, is the total number of unemployed workers as a percentage of the overall civilian workforce. U4 includes unemployed and discouraged workers. U5 is the total of unemployed workers plus discouraged workers and those who completed temporary jobs. U6 is all of the above combined, plus those working part-time for economic reasons.

Wallis said the U6 rate, considered by the ODE to be "the broadest measure of labor underutilization, which includes the unemployed, those who have stopped looking for work — for any reason — but still want a job, and people working part-time who want to work full-time," decreased to 7.4 percent in June.

"This was by far Oregon's lowest U6 since comparable records began in 2002," an ODE statement says. "(This is) a continuation of a downward trend since reaching a peak of 21.1 percent in May 2009. In recent months, Oregon's labor market tightened so rapidly that the state's U6 rate dropped below the national U6 of 8.6 percent in June 2017."

Meanwhile, in June, Oregon's non-farm payroll employment — measured by using the standard U3 rate — grew by 8,500 jobs after gaining 2,600 jobs in May. June's increase was the largest since 9,600 jobs were added in February 2016. The state's current U3 unemployment rate is 3.7 percent compared to 4.4 percent nationally, according to information released by the ODE on July 18.

Leisure and hospitality jobs lead the gains with 2,100 new positions while the construction industry added 1,600 and the manufacturing sector created another 1,400 jobs.

The financial industry was the only "major" industry to cut jobs, shedding 800 in June, the ODE states.

Since May 2016, Oregon's payroll employment increased 2.6 percent to 47,300, yet the unemployment rate changed only slightly from 3.6 percent — the state's all-time low rate — to 3.7 percent. By comparison, in June 2016 Oregon's unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, the ODE stated on July 18.

Canby's labor force totaled 8,678 in May and of those workers 250 were unemployed while 8,428 had jobs. In January 2013, Canby's labor force totaled 7,850 with 637 of those unemployed and 7,213 with jobs.

Wallis said that in factoring employment data, it doesn't matter in the calculation if a resident of Canby was already employed when he or she moved into the city. Translation: the employment figures aren't padded with people who moved here and already had jobs.

"They are only counted as an employed Canby resident if they have a job and live in Canby," Wallis said. "Their employment history is irrelevant. FYI, the majority of Canby residents travel outside the city to work."

About 85 percent of Canby residents, in fact, commute outside the city to their jobs, according to a report Wallis provided the Canby City Council in early 2016.

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