Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.7% in May

Posted on June 14, 2023

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% in May, down from 4.0% in April. This was the fourth consecutive monthly drop in the unemployment rate, down from a recent high of 4.8% in January. The May rate was similar to rates in February through May 2022, when it ranged from 3.5% to 3.7%. Oregon’s May unemployment rate of 3.7% equaled the U.S. unemployment rate, which rose to 3.7% in May from 3.4% in April.

In May, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 3,600 jobs, following a revised gain of 500 jobs in April. Over-the-month gains were largest in financial activities (+1,200 jobs), leisure and hospitality (+1,100), and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+1,000). Declines were largest in retail trade (-500 jobs) and government (-300). Since May 2022, Oregon has added 39,100 nonfarm payroll jobs (+2.0%).

Leisure and hospitality, while still adding jobs, has grown at a slower rate during the past 12 months than during its rapid partial recovery during much of 2020 and 2021. Its component industry, accommodation and food services, which employed 177,000 in May, added 4,800 jobs in the past 12 months. Meanwhile, arts, entertainment, and recreation, which employed 27,600 in May, added 2,800 jobs in that time. Despite these recent gains, leisure and hospitality is still 11,900 jobs (-5%) below where it was in February 2020, just prior to the Pandemic Recession.

Professional and business services job gains have decelerated over the past year. It added 5,200 jobs since May 2022, growing at the same rate of 2.0% as Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment. But at a total of 268,000 jobs in May, professional and business services is well above its pre-recession peak figure of 257,700 jobs in February 2020.

Local government, at 229,700 jobs in May, was back near its pre-recession total. This sector, which includes schools and city and county governments, took about three years to fully rebound from the Pandemic Recession cutbacks during 2020.

Retail trade employment ticked down 500 jobs in May. Industry employment has been steady recently, coming in at 208,800 in May, which was close to its jobs totals of 2017 through 2023, with the exception of the recession-induced plunge of 2020.

Next Press Releases 
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the May county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Wednesday, June 21, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for June on Wednesday, July 19.


All numbers in the above narrative are seasonally adjusted.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 Oregon Employment Department publishes payroll employment estimates that are revised quarterly by using employment counts from employer unemployment insurance tax records. All department publications use this Official Oregon Series data unless noted otherwise. This month’s release incorporates the October, November and December 2022 tax records data. The department continues to make the original nonfarm payroll employment series available; these data are produced by the BLS.

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 spoken language 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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