Oregon unemployment rate, job recovery falls

By Kate Davidson (OPB)
Aug. 18, 2020 8:25 p.m.

Oregon's unemployment rate dropped to 10.4% in July.

The good news is that Oregon’s unemployment rate fell last month. The bad news is that the pace of job recovery also fell.

The state’s July unemployment rate dropped to 10.4%, according to new data from the Oregon Employment Department. That is down from a revised 11.6% in June.

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At the same time, fewer jobs returned to the coronavirus-ravaged economy. In June, Oregon employers added 57,000 non-farm payroll jobs. In July, they added just 20,500.

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At any other time, economists would celebrate monthly job gains of this magnitude. But these are pandemic times. By the end of April, the state had lost a staggering 266,000 jobs.

“We’ve only gained back about two out of the five jobs that were lost in March and April,” said OED senior economic analyst Anna Johnson. “So, it’s not a lot of job growth in that context.”

Oregon’s industries are experiencing the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic in somewhat staggered shifts.

Leisure and hospitality businesses suffered the biggest losses early in the pandemic, then added more than 7,000 jobs last month. Meanwhile, the construction, manufacturing and information industries continued hemorrhaging jobs, each cutting more than 1,000 positions in July.

Oregon’s unemployment rate is in line with the national jobless rate of 10.2%.

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