Oregon Unemployment Rate Continues To Drop

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Reached a Record Low of 4.3 Percent in January. Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in January, from 4.5 percent in December. This was the lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1976. Revised figures show Oregon’s unemployment rate has been on a declining trend over the past seven years. Outside of the past 12 months, the only other time, over the past forty years, that Oregon’s rate reached below 5 percent was between November 1994 and September 1995 when the rate dropped as low as 4.7 percent. In January, the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.8 percent.

In January, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2,600, which was less than the average of 3,500 jobs added per month over the past six months. Monthly growth was strongest in construction, which added 2,100 jobs, and retail trade, which added 1,200. Monthly losses were largest in health care and social assistance (-1,100 jobs) and government (-1,100).

Newly revised payroll employment figures show a slowdown in the overall rate of job gains in recent months, following quite rapid gains during the prior few years. Over the past 12 months, payroll employment added 43,200 jobs, or 2.4 percent. Growth was very fast in construction, which added 10,000 jobs, or 11.5 percent. In that time several major industries grew rapidly, by close to 4 percent: transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+2,600 jobs, or 4.4%); financial activities (+3,700 jobs, or 3.9%); information (+1,200 jobs, or 3.6%); and health care and social assistance (+8,000 jobs, or 3.5%). Meanwhile only two industries cut jobs in that time: manufacturing (-1,400 jobs, or -0.7%) and mining and logging (-200 jobs, or -2.6%).

Newly revised figures show less job growth in October through December. Total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 9,500, which was only two-thirds the growth that was originally estimated. The industries revised downward the most for that period were wholesale trade; government; and manufacturing. However, some industries were revised higher for December, including retail trade and information.

Information provided by Oregon Employment Department