Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent last month, continuing a recent trend of breaking record lows.
Oregon hasn’t had an unemployment rate this low since the state began keeping records in 1976.
Full employment is considered to be about 4.5 percent.
Having jobless levels below that means it gets harder for employers to find qualified applicants, and wages usually start to climb. Then, says Employment Department economist David Cooke, the issue becomes controlling inflation.
“We haven’t seen the rapid rise in inflation yet,” he said. “But if we maintain very low levels of the unemployment rate then many people expect inflation to pick up somewhat.”
Over the last year, Oregon employers have added 39,000 people to their payrolls. That’s equivalent to the population of Lake Oswego.
Oregon’s employment growth rate of 2.2 percent is much faster than that of the nation as a whole. The national rate stands at 1.5 percent.