Oregon Unemployment Rate Drops In March

Photo: Ford, Brad

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.8% in March, down from 4.0% in February, continuing its rapid decline of recent months. The March unemployment rate is well below the 6.1% it reached a year ago and is the lowest since prior to the pandemic-induced recession two years ago, in March 2020, when it was 3.5%. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6% in March and 3.8% in February.

In March, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 5,600 jobs, following a revised gain of 9,700 jobs in February. In March, gains were largest in construction (+1,500 jobs), financial activities (+1,400), leisure and hospitality (+900), other services (+900), manufacturing (+800), and government (+700). The only major industry to cut a substantial number of jobs was professional and business services (-900 jobs).

Construction reached another record high of 117,500 jobs in March. Since March 2021, construction added 6,100 jobs, or 5.5%. Over the year, construction of buildings added 1,900 jobs, or 10.8%, which was the fastest growth rate of all construction component industries. Building equipment contractors also grew rapidly, adding 3,100 jobs, or 9.9%, during the past 12 months.

Financial activities employment was boosted by the hot real estate sector. Real estate and rental and leasing added 1,400 jobs in March to reach 50,300 jobs. Meanwhile, the more steady finance and insurance was flat at 56,700 jobs, near where it has remained for the past dozen years.

Leisure and hospitality cooled, at least temporarily, its rapid comeback of the past two years. Despite only adding 900 jobs in March, it is up 38,400 jobs since March 2021, which accounts for more than half of the private sector’s job gains in that time.

Professional and business services cut 900 jobs, but at 256,500 jobs, the sector was still near an all-time high. In March, administrative and waste services cut 1,800 jobs, after adding nearly as many in the prior two months.

Source: Oregon Employment Department

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