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Lowest on Record: Oregon Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.9 Percent in July

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%).

Next Press Releases

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the July county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, August 21st, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for August on Tuesday, September 18th.


All numbers in the above narrative are seasonally adjusted.

The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) work cooperatively to develop and publish monthly Oregon payroll employment and labor force data. The estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other sources.

The Oregon Employment Department publishes payroll employment estimates that are revised quarterly by using employment counts from employer unemployment insurance tax records. All department publications use this Official Oregon Series data unless noted otherwise. This month’s release incorporates the January, February and March 2018 tax records data. The department continues to make the original nonfarm payroll employment series available; these data are produced by the BLS.

Effective with the January 2018 data, employment of Oregon’s approximately 17,000 home care workers are counted in private health care and social assistance instead of state government. The change was due to legislative action clarifying that for purposes of workforce and labor market information, home care workers are not employees of state government. The reclassification affects private sector and government monthly change figures for January 2018 and will affect over-the-year change figures through December 2018. It does not affect total payroll employment levels.

The pdf version of the news release, including tables and graphs, can be found at www.QualityInfo.org/press-release. To obtain the data in other formats such as in Excel, visit www.QualityInfo.org, then within the top banner, select Economic Data, then choose LAUS or CES. To request the press release as a Word document, contact the person shown at the top of this press release.

For help finding jobs and training resources, visit one of the state’s WorkSource Oregon centers or go to: www.WorkSourceOregon.org.

Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.​

View full article here: https://www.oregon.gov/EMPLOY/Agency/Pages/News-Releases.aspx#release?id=84