Oregon’s Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Changed Little in February

Posted on March 21, 2023

In Oregon, nonfarm payroll employment declined by 100 jobs in February, following a gain of 9,600 jobs in January. Job losses in February were largest in manufacturing (-1,300 jobs) and financial activities (-1,000). Gains were largest in construction (+1,400 jobs), private educational services (+1,000), and government (+700).

Nondurable goods manufacturing experienced more job cuts than normal in both January and February. The industry employed 57,800 in February, which was close to its February totals of the prior two years. Food manufacturing comprises about half of nondurable goods manufacturing employment and, at 27,800 jobs in February, was close to its February totals of each of the past seven years. Meanwhile, durable goods manufacturing hasn’t gained much ground lately, as it has hovered close to 137,000 jobs during the past eight months. Recent gains in machinery manufacturing have been offset by declines in computer and electronic product manufacturing.

Construction employment rose sharply in February, reaching another record high of 122,700. The industry added 7,500 jobs, or 6.5%, over the past 12 months. Since February 2022, all published components of construction are up between 3.8% and 9.3%. The component that grew the fastest was building equipment contractors, which added 3,000 jobs, or 9.3%, in that time. Both components within construction of buildings grew close to 4%, with residential building construction up 800 jobs, or 3.8%, and nonresidential building construction up 500 jobs, or 4.3%.

Government employment rebounded above to its pre-pandemic high of early 2020, as it rose to 302,100 jobs in February. Local government education rose to 139,100 jobs in February, which was 6,500 jobs above its year-ago figure, and is now nearly back to its February 2020 total of 141,900. Local government, excluding education slowly expanded over the past eight months; it employed 97,700 in February.

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.7% in February, little changed from 4.8% in January. Oregon’s unemployment rate averaged 4.8% over the past six months. In February, the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 3.6%, from 3.4% in January.

Next Press Releases 
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the February county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, March 28, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for March on Wednesday, April 19.

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