Oregon Strong February Job Growth

Photo: Ford, Brad

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.0% in February, from 4.2%, as revised, in January. Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped rapidly from its peak in April 2020 through late 2021, and is now at its lowest level since prior to the pandemic-induced recession in March 2020 when it was 3.5%. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.8% in February and 4.0% in January.

In February, 59,000 Oregonians had been unemployed for less than six months, which was near the lowest number in two decades. Meanwhile, 24,000 Oregonians had been unemployed for more than six months, as the number of long-term unemployed decreased rapidly since hitting a recent peak of 65,000 in April 2021.

In February, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment rose by 12,300 jobs, following a revised gain of 5,100 jobs in January. This was the largest monthly gain since July 2021 when 34,800 jobs were added. 

In February, gains were largest in leisure and hospitality (+3,500 jobs), construction (+2,300), health care and social assistance (+1,600), and professional and business services (+1,200). Eight other industries each added between 200 and 900 jobs. None of the major industries had a substantial job loss in February.

Leisure and hospitality rapidly added jobs all of this year and last year. It added 51,700 jobs, or 34.4%, since February 2021. Despite these gains, leisure and hospitality still accounts for a large share of the jobs Oregon has not recovered since early 2020, with 14,600 jobs left to recover to reach the prior peak month of February 2020. The industry has regained 87% of jobs lost early in the pandemic.

Construction reached another record high of 116,100 jobs in February. Mild weather in mid-February allowed roofers and other contractors to get jobs done that may have been postponed in more inclement winters.

Source: Oregon Employment Department

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