Oregon’s Nonfarm Payroll Employment Declines by 1,200 in August

Posted on September 13, 2023

Oregon’s unemployment rate stayed at 3.4% in August, the same as July. This tied Oregon’s record low of 3.4%, which also was reached in November and December 2019. Since May, Oregon’s unemployment rate has been below 4%. The U.S. unemployment rate rose from 3.5% in July to 3.8% in August.

In August, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment declined by 1,200 jobs, following a revised gain of 3,400 jobs in July. August’s over-the-month job losses were largest in retail trade (-1,600 jobs); construction (-1,000); and professional and business services (-800). Job gains were largest in leisure and hospitality (+2,100 jobs).

Payroll employment grew by 1.3% over the past 12 months. Over-the-year job growth decelerated to an average of about 2% in the past five months, from 12-month growth rates that were above 3% during the economic recovery period, which included much of the prior two years.

Several major industries grew rapidly over the past 12 months. Since August 2022, leisure and hospitality (+10,500 jobs, or 5.3%) continued to add jobs at a rapid clip, but is still 6,100 jobs below its prior peak reached in February 2020. Health care and social assistance (+14,000 jobs, or 5.2%) also added jobs rapidly over the past 12 months, with social assistance gaining 6,300 jobs in that time. Each of health care’s component industries added close to 2,500 jobs in that time. Government (9,400 jobs, or 3.1%) grew rapidly in that time as well, as local government recently rose above its pre-pandemic level.

Several industries have contracted in the past 12 months. Manufacturing (-4,100 jobs, or -2.1%) employs fewer workers than a year ago, as many of its durable goods manufacturing component industries have cut up to 2% of jobs in that time. Similarly, retail trade (-3,700 jobs, or -1.8%) has cut jobs recently, with most retail component industries declining slightly since August 2022. Meanwhile, after booming from 2019 through 2021, transportation, warehousing, and utilities has retraced some of those job gains, cutting 3,200 jobs, or 4.0%, in the past 12 months.

Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the August county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, Sept. 19, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for September on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

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