February 28, 2017 11:00 a.m.
Oregon’s unemployment rate is at a record low.
New data from the State of Oregon Employment Department says that the rate dropped to 4.3% in January. That’s down from a revised 4.5% in December. This is the lowest unemployment rate since records began being compiled in 1976. Economist Nick Beleiciks says that Oregon’s unemployment rate has been on a declining trend over the past seven years. Outside of the past twelve months, the only other time over the past forty years that Oregon’s rate reached below 5% was between November of 1994 and September of 1995,, when the rate bottomed at 4.7%. In January the nation’s unemployment rate was 4.8%.
In January nonfarm payroll rose by 2,600 which was less than the average of 3,500 jobs added per month over the past six months. Monthly growth was strongest in construction which added 2,100 jobs and retail trade which added 1,200. Monthly job losses were the largest in health care and social assistance which shed 1,100 jobs.
The new payroll employment figures show a slowdown in the overall rate of job gains in recent months. That follows quite rapid gains during the prior few years. Over the past twelve months, payroll employment grew by 2.4%.