Oregon’s payroll employment grew for the 50th consecutive month as employers added 4,600 jobs in August, after a revised gain of 5,000 in July. Since June 2012, Oregon’s economy expanded rapidly, adding 208,200 jobs—an average gain of 4,200 jobs per month. Oregon hasn’t seen such a long string of monthly job gains since comparable records began in 1990. Nationally, August was the 71st straight month of job growth.
Oregon’s unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in August, an increase from July’s rate of 5.2 percent. The rate has risen from a record low of 4.5 percent in the three months of March, April and May. Oregon’s labor force, which reached a record high of 2,065,000 in August, has grown rapidly in recent months as the number of people employed increased along with growth in the number of unemployed. Oregon’s unemployment rate remained close to the U.S. unemployment rate, which was unchanged at 4.9 percent in August.
In August, several service-providing industries expanded rapidly, while the two major goods-producing industries expanded moderately. August gains were largest in health care and social assistance (+2,000 jobs); leisure and hospitality (+1,300); financial activities (+1,000); manufacturing (+700); and construction (+600). August job losses were largest in transportation, warehousing and utilities (-700 jobs) and government (-600).
Over the past 12 months, Oregon added 59,500 jobs, for a growth rate of 3.3 percent—nearly double the national growth rate of 1.7 percent. During that time, none of Oregon’s major industries declined. Construction expanded at the fastest rate, growing by 9.1 percent, or 7,500 jobs. Two other industries grew very rapidly during that time: professional and business services (+14,800 jobs, or 6.5%) and other services (+3,500 jobs, or 5.7%). Industries with less than 1 percent growth were mining and logging (no change, or 0.0%); manufacturing (+500 jobs, or 0.3%); and information (+300 jobs, or 0.9%).