For 14 consecutive months, Oregon’s unemployment rate has been close to 4.1 percent, its lowest level since comparable records began in 1976. The U.S. unemployment rate was also 4.1 percent in both January and February.
In February, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment grew by 2,700 jobs, following a revised gain of 4,900 jobs in January. Three major industries each added 1,000 jobs or more: retail trade (+1,800 jobs), construction (+1,000), and health care and social assistance (+1,000). These gains were partially offset by losses of 1,100 jobs in private educational services, 900 in professional and business services, and 700 in manufacturing.
Payroll employment grew by 43,700 jobs, or 2.3 percent, in the most recent 12 months. In that time, gains were fastest in construction (+7,400 jobs, or 7.8%), other services (+3,200 jobs, or 5.1%), and leisure and hospitality (+9,700 jobs, or 4.8%). Meanwhile, growth in professional and business services slowed dramatically, as it added only 2,000 jobs in the past 12 months. The gain of only 0.8 percent was much slower than its average annual growth rate of 4.0 percent from mid-2010 through mid-2016.
Over-the-year job growth numbers for all states were released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on March 12th. Most Oregon industries ranked high in growth when compared with other states. Oregon’s total nonfarm employment grew 2.7 percent from January 2017 to January 2018. That was the fifth fastest job growth among the states, following Utah (3.1%), and Idaho, Nevada, and Washington (each at 2.8%).
Oregon’s private sector tied with Idaho for the second-fastest job growth (behind Utah). Oregon industries placing in the top three include other services (1st), private education and health services (2nd behind Nevada), leisure and hospitality (2nd behind Utah), and financial activities, which tied for third with New Mexico (behind Idaho and Arizona).