Oregon Adds Jobs While Unemployment Holds Steady

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.8% in January, matching Oregon’s revised 4.8% unemployment rates for October, November, and December 2022. The last time Oregon’s unemployment rate was more than 4.8% was in July 2021 when the rate was 5.1%. In January, the U.S. unemployment rate was 3.4%, its lowest level in more than 50 years. Annual revisions to the data, released this month, indicate that Oregon’s unemployment rate was higher than originally estimated last year, and payroll employment growth was slightly slower. 

In Oregon, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 9,900 jobs in January, following a gain of 5,600 jobs in December. Monthly job gains in 2022 averaged 5,600. The gains in January were largest in health care and social assistance (+2,200 jobs); professional and business services (+1,800); and leisure and hospitality (+1,400). The only major industry with a job loss in January was private educational services (-600). 

Health care and social assistance expanded its workforce rapidly during July 2022 through January 2023. During that time, it added 4,500 jobs, to reach a total of 271,800 jobs. Prior to that there had been little net job change compared with early 2021. Over the most recent 12 months, social assistance was the component industry that grew the most, adding 5,000 jobs since January 2022. 

Professional and business services continued its rapid expansion of the past more than two years. It added 13,000 jobs, or 5.0%, since January 2022. Job gains in this broad industry—that makes up 14% of Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll jobs—have been relentless and consistent throughout 2021 and 2022. 

Leisure and hospitality rose in January, consistent with its steady expansion and partial recovery from the recession of nearly three years ago. It added 12,500 jobs, or 6.5%, in the 12 months to January. Despite these gains, it is still 10,600 jobs below its pre-recession peak reached in February 2020. 

Private educational services slipped to 34,800 jobs in January, following stability since May 2022. 

Source: Oregon Employment Department

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