Despite Job Gains, Oregon Unemployment Rate Stays Flat in January

Oregon growth sectors continued their jobs gains streak, reflecting a relatively robust economy.

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According to job numbers released this week by the Oregon Employment Department, the state’s unemployment rate was at 4.8% in January, matching Oregon’s revised 4.8% unemployment rates for October, November, and December 2022. The last time Oregon’s unemployment rate was more than 4.8% was in July 2021 when the rate was 5.1%. While the United States on the whole posted record-low unemployment in January, Oregon’s January unemployment was the highest it’s been since July of 2021, when the unemployment was 5.1%.

Annual revisions to the data, released this month, indicate that Oregon’s unemployment rate was higher than originally estimated last year, and payroll employment growth was slightly slower. 

Despite the one percent rise in unemployment compared to last year, state employment economist Gail Krumenauer told KLCC the economy has still seen strong job gains. Oregon employers added nearly 71,000 jobs to non-farm payrolls in 2022.

The largest job gains in January were in health care and social assistance, which added 2,200 jobs, followed by professional and business services, which added 1,800 jobs, and leisure and hospitality, which added 1,400. The only major sector with a job loss in January was private educational services, which lost 600 jobs.

Those changes are in line with previous trends: between July 2022 and January 2023, health care and social assistance added 4,500 jobs, reaching a total of 271,800 jobs. Social assistance jobs — which include family services, community food and housing, relief services and child care — were the component industry that grew the most, adding 5,000 jobs since January 2022. 

Professional and business services and leisure and hospitality services also continued to make gains. Professional and business services added 13,000 jobs since January 2022, a 5% overall increase. Leisure and hospitality added 12,500 jobs in January, a 6.5% yearly expansion. in the 12 months to January. Despite these gains, it is still 10,600 jobs below its pre-recession peak reached in February 2020. 

Private educational services dropped to 34,800 jobs in January, following jobs being stable since May 2022. 

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