March 21, 2017 2:20 p.m.
Oregon has the lowest rate of unemployment in at least 40 years.
New information from the State Employment Department shows that the February rate is 4.0 percent. That’s a drop from 4.3 percent in January. Oregon’s rate of unemployment is lower than the national rate of 4.7 percent for the month of February.
Last month the number of unemployed Oregonians dropped to about 82,000 which was the lowest number since August of 1995. In contrast the labor force has grown from about 1.7 million people in 1995 to 2.0 million today.
Nonfarm payroll employment grew in February by 8,200 following a revised gain of 700 in January. Government grew the most of the major sectors, adding 4,400 jobs to rebound from a loss of 3,400 jobs in January. Health care and social assistance shot up by 2,400 jobs in February following a loss of 3,400 jobs in January.
Over the past 12 months, payroll unemployment added 39,900 jobs or 2.2 percent. That was a slight deceleration from the growth rate near or above 3 percent throughout much of the past four years. Oregon is still growing faster than the U.S. growth rate of 1.6 percent.
Since February of 2016, Oregon’s growth was very fast in construction, which added 8,900 jobs or 10.0 percent. Other industries that grew rapidly were health care and social assistance at 3.8 percent, financial activities also at 3.8 percent, and information at 3.3 percent.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown said that the historic gains over the past few months mean that “Oregonians in every corner of the state are closer to gaining the opportunities they need to thrive”. Brown says that the proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act however, will put 23,000 health care jobs at risk. She says that move could lead to “drastic consequences to Oregon’s economy”.