Oregon’s unemployment rate went down again last month, pushed by big gains in the private sector.

The state’s monthly jobless rate improved to 4.4%, down from 4.7% in September, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Oregon Employment Department.

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Gains were spread across several parts of private industry, with a total job expansion of 10,300 non-government jobs in seasonally-adjusted numbers. The leisure and hospitality sector, which was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the broad professional and business services sector led the expansion in October; leisure and hospitality added 3,100 jobs, and 2,900 jobs were added to professional and business services last month.

Construction, manufacturing and wholesale trade sectors also made significant gains, according to the latest numbers from state officials. Each of those sectors added more than 1,000 jobs, and combined for a total of 3,000 hires in October.

At the same time, the government sector shrank, with a seasonally-adjusted loss of 5,600 jobs, driven largely by shortages in public schools.

The Employment Department notes that government hiring remains thousands of jobs below where it was two years ago, before the pandemic. Public schools are nearly 9,000 jobs below their employment levels in 2019. The rest of Oregon’s government sector is also down from where it was two years ago, by about 2,000 jobs.

Even parts of the economy that have expanded recently still have ground to make up from the huge losses during the first several weeks of the pandemic. In spite of recent gains in the leisure and hospitality sector, that area of the economy remains 30,000 jobs below its February 2020 peak.

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