Economy

Oregon continues to steadily add jobs

By Rob Manning (OPB)
June 15, 2022 8:37 p.m.

The latest monthly jobs report shows a slight improvement in the unemployment rate as Oregon maintains job growth.

Once again, Oregon employers added several thousand jobs to the payroll and the state’s unemployment rate ticked down a hair, continuing a pattern of steady improvement over the last several months.

According to the latest numbers from the Oregon Employment Department, the state’s unemployment rate fell to 3.6% in May, which matches the national average for both April and May.

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The latest press release from state employment economists focuses on growth over the last 12 months, highlighted by an increase of more than 80,000 nonfarm jobs since May 2021. The fastest-growing sector has been leisure and hospitality, which rebounded over the last year with more than 29,000 jobs.

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While Oregon’s unemployment rate now matches the national average, the pace of job recovery is slightly behind the country as a whole, according to the state’s analysis.

“Oregon has regained 90% of the jobs it lost in spring 2020, compared with 96% for the U.S. The labor market is still going really strong in Oregon,” said senior economic analyst Anna Johnson in a recorded statement.

Analysis from earlier this month by Josh Lehner at the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis suggests the employment gains are relatively inclusive, with numerous trends getting no worse through the pandemic.

“The good news so far this cycle is that when it comes to employment trends and opportunities by age, gender, geographic location, and race and ethnicity, these disparities are not wider today than they were before the pandemic hit,” Lehner wrote in a June 2 article.

But as Lehner notes, the fact that pre-pandemic disparities haven’t gotten worse doesn’t mean they’re getting smaller.

“We have long-standing disparities that remain,” Lehner noted.

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