In Oregon, nonfarm payroll employment grew by 6,200 in May, following gains averaging 6,000 jobs in the prior six months. Monthly gains in May were largest in leisure and hospitality (+3,200 jobs); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+1,300); wholesale trade (+900); and manufacturing (+800). Construction (-1,100 jobs) was the only major industry that shed a substantial number of jobs.
Over the past 12 months, nonfarm payrolls rose by 82,700 jobs, or 4.4%. Leisure and hospitality accounted for more than a third of these gains, growing by 29,400 jobs, or 17.2%. Private educational services grew by 3,000 jobs, or 9.3%, which was the second fastest growth rate of the major industries. Several industries grew by close to 5% since May 2021, including construction; wholesale trade; professional and business services; and manufacturing. None of the major industries declined a substantial amount over the past 12 months.
Durable goods manufacturing growth accelerated, as the industry added 8,800 jobs, or 6.9%, during the past 12 months. All of its component industries added jobs in that time. Computer and electronic products (+4,200 jobs, or 11.2%) added the bulk of jobs in durable goods manufacturing. Primary metals manufacturing (+800 job, or 12.3%) grew at the fastest rate, while three other component industries each added close to 1,100 jobs—machinery, fabricated metals, and wood products.
Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 3.6% in May, from 3.7% in April, reaching its lowest level in more than two years. The rate is close to Oregon’s record low of 3.4%, which occurred in each of the four months of November 2019 through February 2020. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6% in both April and May 2022.
Oregon’s rising labor force participation rate is another sign that more people are getting back to work. In May, the participation rate rose to 63.5%, its highest reading in 10 years. This measure of how many people are working or looking for work has risen rapidly since reaching a low of 59.2% in April 2020 during the worst of the COVID recession. Oregon’s labor force participation rate of 63.5% in May was well above the comparable U.S. figure of 62.3%.
Source: Oregon Employment Department