Oregon Jobless Rate At Lowest Point In At Least Four Decades

Oregon Jobless Rate At Lowest Point In At Least Four Decades

Oregon unemployment fell to 4.3 percent last month, its lowest point in at least 41 years. That's how long economists have been calculating employment figures using comparable methodology.

The state's economy is enjoying one of its longest sustained upcycles in history. The Oregon Employment Department said January was particularly strong in construction; transportation, warehousing and utilities; financial activities; the information sector; and health care.

Oregon's jobless rate is now substantially below the national rate of 4.8 percent. The Oregon Employment Department said the only other time the state had a sustained period of joblessness below 5 percent was the mid-1990s.

Still, growth has slowed in recent months, and the employment department issued revised figures that show growth in the last quarter of 2016 was only two-thirds as fast as originally estimated. Wholesale trade, government jobs and manufacturing all performed less well than prior data suggested.

Just two sectors lost jobs in January - manufacturing, and mining and logging, both of which were once Oregon economic stalwarts.

A broader measure of Oregon's employment picture, the U-6 or "underemployment" rate, was 9.6 percent in January. That's down from 9.8 percent in December and 10.5 percent a year earlier. That rate also is near its lowest point on record.

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Dated: March 3rd 2017
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