Oregon’s jobless rate rose to 4.1% in October; state economists predict recession next year

By Kate Davidson (OPB)
Nov. 16, 2022 9:36 p.m.

Still, hiring picked up and the state reached a record-high number of jobs

Oregon added 5,200 jobs in October, even as the state’s unemployment rate rose to 4.1% and economic forecasters warned a mild recession is likely within the next year.

The state jobless rate edged up from 3.8% in September, breaking 4% for the first time since the beginning of 2022. It’s now slightly higher than the national unemployment rate of 3.7%.


“Despite the uptick in unemployment, it’s still really low by historical standards, at 4.1% in Oregon,” said state employment economist Gail Krumenauer in a recorded statement.


Krumenauer noted that, after a net job loss in September, hiring bounced back in October. The unemployment rate is measured differently from the tally of jobs statewide. For several reasons, it’s possible for the jobless rate to rise even as more positions are filled.

In fact, Oregon’s private sector reached an all-time high of 1,682,300 jobs in October, according to the Oregon Employment Department. That’s well above its pre-pandemic peak.

Three sectors added more than 1,000 jobs each last month: financial activities; manufacturing; and health care and social assistance. Within the broad category of financial activities, employment gains in real estate and rental and leasing were particularly robust, with 1,900 new jobs. Construction and leisure and hospitality businesses also added hundreds of jobs, with construction also reaching record-high employment.

Conversely, government and retail trade groups lost hundreds of jobs last month.

State economic forecasters warned Wednesday that they expect a mild recession to hit within the next year, causing the state unemployment rate to peak at 5.4% in early 2024. Forecasters anticipate a loss of roughly 24,000 jobs, many of them in industries tied to construction and manufacturing. “A mild recession is now the most likely outcome for the economy,” state economists wrote in their quarterly forecast.

It’s too soon to know how deeply layoffs in the tech industry could affect Oregon’s workforce. Intel, the state’s largest corporate employer, said last month it would undertake aggressive cost-cutting measures including targeted job cuts. Amazon, Twitter and Meta’s layoff plans have rocked the tech world, but their impact is far more pronounced in Washington. Meta and Twitter have laid off at least 900 Washington employees so far.


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