Oregon's jobless rate plunges below 4 percent

March figure a record low yet again

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon's unemployment rate has plunged to less than 4 percent.

The state Employment Department said Tuesday the March jobless rate was 3.8 percent, the lowest mark since comparable records began in 1976. The unemployment rate at this time last year was 4.9 percent.

The agency says government, manufacturing and professional and business services enjoyed strong job growth last month. Construction has been the fastest-growing sector over the past year, adding more than 8,000 jobs.

Another unemployment measure, known as U-6, fell to 8.6 percent in March - down from 9.1 percent in February and 10.4 percent a year ago. The figure includes discouraged workers who stopped looking as well as part-time workers who want but can't get full-time jobs.


Oregon Employment Department news release:

Oregon's Unemployment Rate Reaches Record Low 3.8 Percent in March

Oregon's unemployment rate edged down to 3.8 percent in March, from 4.0 percent in February. This was the lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1976. Oregon's 3.8 percent unemployment rate was significantly lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.5 percent in March.

In March, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2,400 following a revised gain of 7,600 in February. Three industries added at least 1,000 jobs: professional and business services (+1,700 jobs), government (+1,600), and manufacturing (+1,000). Only one industry cut at least 1,000, as financial activities shed 1,300 jobs.

Over the past 12 months, payroll employment added 39,500 jobs, or 2.2 percent, which was a 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 1.5 percent.

Since March 2016, Oregon's construction sector grew the fastest, adding 8,200 jobs, or 9.2 percent. Other industries that grew rapidly were professional and business services (+8,700 jobs, or 3.7%); health care and social assistance (+7,600 jobs, or 3.3%); and information (+1,000 jobs, or 3.0%). Meanwhile only two industries cut jobs over the year: mining and logging (-100 jobs, or 1.3%); and wholesale trade (-1,000 jobs, or -1.3%).

Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the March county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, April 25th, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for April on Tuesday, May 16th.

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. 

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