State job numbers include full- and part-time workers

When the government runs its monthly employment numbers, does it consider part-time workers or is it based only on full-time jobs?

— Vince S., Trail

According to Guy Tauer, a regional economist with the Oregon Employment Department who knows the ins and outs of such matters, if you are earning a paycheck during the week that includes the 12th day of the month, you are counted among the employed.

"That's true whether it's part-time, temporary or a seasonal job," Tauer said.

The nondistinction between full- and part-timers has existed for as long as Tauer can recall.

"They've collected employment statistics for decades, and the definition hasn't changed for a long time," he said.

Agriculture workers, however, are not included in "covered workforce" surveys because they aren't generally part of the unemployment insurance system.

"They are included in the total employment figures, which uses estimates of agriculture and self-employed workers," Tauer says. "The nonfarm payroll data comes from various industries, but most agricultural work is not covered by unemployment insurance."

He said corporate officers fall in the same category, but are counted through other means.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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