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Oregon adds 1,400 jobs in March, 2,800 in February; jobless rate holds steady at 4.2% – KTVZ

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SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — In March, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1,400 jobs, following a revised gain of 2,800 jobs in February, as the state’s jobless rate held steady at 4.2%, the Oregon Employment Department reported Wednesday.

March’s gains were largest in professional and business services (+2,400 jobs); government (+1,000); and wholesale trade (+600). Monthly declines were largest in construction (-2,300 jobs); retail trade (-600); and manufacturing (-600).

Hiring trends diverged during the first three months of the year. Several major industries expanded by at least 1,500 jobs, while others contracted. Health care and social assistance continued its rapid growth of the past two years with gains totaling 3,300 jobs during January, February, and March. Administrative and waste services added 2,700 jobs during those three months, which was an abrupt shift following this industry’s loss of 4,600 jobs during 2023. Government added 1,500 jobs so far this year as it continued its recovery and expansion of the past three years.

The industry that dropped the most during the first three months of the year was construction, which dropped by 3,300 jobs, following a relatively flat year in 2023 when it gained only 900 jobs. Meanwhile, accommodation and food services dropped 1,900 jobs so far this year, which nearly erased its gain of 2,000 jobs last year. 

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.2% in both February and March. Its rise from a record low of 3.4% in May 2023 is a sign of a loosening labor market. Another indicator of a loosening labor market was the rise in the number of Oregonians employed part time for economic reasons, which rose to 73,000 in March from a low of 48,200 in September 2022. 

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Next Press Releases

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the March county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, April 23, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for April on Wednesday, May 15.

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