Oregon unemployment hits record low
SALEM — Oregon’s unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in July, which was Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1976. Oregon’s June unemployment rate was 4.0 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate exactly matched Oregon’s rate in both months: 3.9 percent in July and 4.0 percent in June.
During the past two years, Oregon’s unemployment rate has been remarkably low and steady. The rate was either 4.1 percent or 4.2 percent each month stretching from January 2017 to May 2018. The most recent two months are still close to that level, but have edged down to 4.0 percent in June and 3.9 percent in July.
Oregon’s economy is growing faster than previously thought. Payroll employment figures covering the spring and early summer show bigger job gains than the numbers released four weeks ago indicated. In July, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment rose by 5,400 jobs, following a revised over-the-month gain of 6,600 jobs in June.
Monthly job gains in July were concentrated in retail trade (+1,900 jobs), construction (+1,700), and health care and social assistance (+1,400). The only major industry performing below seasonal expectations was government, which cut 2,200 jobs.
Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment increased by 45,300 jobs, or 2.4 percent, since July 2017. This growth was substantially more rapid than was previously indicated in the jobs estimates released last month. Oregon’s gains over the past 12 months were largest, by far, in construction, which added 11,000 jobs, expanding by 11.2 percent. Over the year, several other major industries each added more than 6,000 jobs, while growing faster than 3 percent: leisure and hospitality (+8,100 jobs, or 3.9%); manufacturing (+6,300 jobs, or 3.3%); professional and business services (+7,900 jobs, or 3.2%); and health care and social assistance (+7,600 jobs, or 3.2%). Some industries remained close to their year-ago job totals, including information (+200 jobs, or 0.6%); retail trade (+600 jobs, or 0.3%); government (-800 jobs, or -0.3%); and wholesale trade (-600 jobs, or 0.8%).