Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.4% in March

Posted on April 19, 2023

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.4% in March, down from 4.7% in February. For the past 20 months since August 2021, Oregon’s unemployment rate has remained relatively steady and near historic lows. The unemployment rate averaged 4.3% in that time, while ranging between 3.5% and 4.8%. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5% in March and 3.6% in February. In March, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2,400 jobs, following a revised loss of 2,700 jobs in February.

In March, gains were largest in health care and social assistance (+1,600 jobs) and professional and business services (+1,200). The only major industries to cut a substantial number of jobs were retail trade (-900 jobs) and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-500).

Health care and social assistance added jobs at a rapid pace over the past year. Since March 2022, it added 8,300 jobs, which was a 3.1% increase. Nearly all of the gains over the year were in social assistance, which added 5,400 jobs since March 2022 and is now 2,500 jobs above its pre-pandemic high. Hospitals added 800 jobs in March, following little gain during the prior 11 months.

Professional and business services grew rapidly over the past three years. It added 8,900 jobs, or 3.4%, since March 2022. One of its component industries, administrative and waste services, was a primary driver of jobs expansion lately, as it added 4,400 jobs, or 4.2%, in the past 12 months. Employing 110,400 in March, this large industry makes up one in 20 nonfarm payroll jobs in Oregon. It includes firms such as temporary help services, janitorial services, landscaping services, and telephone call centers.

Retail trade hovered close to 210,000 jobs throughout the past two years, with a slightly downward trend over the past year. Since March 2022, the broad retail trade sector lost 1,600 jobs (-0.8%). Most retail components cut between 100 and 600 jobs. The only published component industry expanding in that time was food and beverage retailers, which added 900 jobs.

Next Press Releases The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the March county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, April 25, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for April on Wednesday, May 17.

Notes: All numbers in the above narrative are seasonally adjusted except for the components of health care and social assistance and retail trade.

The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) work cooperatively to develop and publish monthly Oregon payroll employment and labor force data. The estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other sources.

The PDF version of the news release can be found at QualityInfo.org/press-release. To obtain the data in other formats such as in Excel, visit QualityInfo.org, select Tools, then choose LAUS or CES under the Economy header. To request the press release as a Word document, contact the person shown at the top of this press release.

To file a claim for unemployment benefits or get more information about unemployment programs, visit unemployment.oregon.gov.

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is an equal opportunity agency. OED provides free help so you can use our services. Some examples are sign language and spokenlanguage interpreters, written materials in other languages, large print, audio, and other formats. To get help, please call 503-947-1444. TTY users call 711. You can also send an email to communications@employ.oregon.gov.

El Departamento de Empleo de Oregon (OED) es una agencia de igualdad de oportunidades. El OED proporciona ayuda gratuita para que usted pueda utilizar nuestros servicios. Algunos ejemplos son intérpretes de lengua de señas e idiomas hablados, materiales escritos en otros idiomas, letra grande, audio y otros formatos. Para obtener ayuda, por favor llame al 503-947-1444. Usuarios de TTY pueden llamar al 711. También puede enviar un correo electrónico a communications@employ.oregon.gov.

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