Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in February and 4.3 percent in January. Oregon’s unemployment rate has ranged between 4.0 percent and 4.4 percent since November 2016, with the low of 4.0 percent occurring in May, June, and July 2018. The U.S. unemployment rate declined to 3.8 percent in February from 4.0 percent in January.
Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment changed little in February (-500 jobs), following a revised, large gain of 12,800 jobs in January. Employment in financial activities, government, and construction continued to trend up, while transportation, warehousing and utilities decreased.
Since February 2018, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment increased by 29,500 jobs, or 1.5 percent. This growth rate was in line with the most recent nine months in which annual gains averaged 29,100 jobs. Over the past 12 months, the U.S. expanded at a slightly faster rate of 1.7 percent.
In February, employment in financial activities gained 900 jobs. Over the year, financial activities has added 1,200 jobs, or 1.2 percent. Government expanded by 700 jobs in February and since February 2018, it rose by 4,700 jobs, or 1.6 percent. Construction added 600 jobs in February. Construction led all industries with over??’the-year growth of 4,600 jobs, or 4.4 percent.
Transportation, warehousing, and utilities was the only major industry experiencing a large employment decline in February. It cut 1,800 jobs for the month, following a gain of 700 in January. Despite the drop in February, the industry grew rapidly in the second half of 2018, and has been the second fastest growing industry in the past 12 months, adding 2,400 jobs, or 3.8 percent in that time.
One component of the transportation industry, couriers and messengers, has expanded rapidly since 2013. Employment jumped 56 percent over that period, and stood at 9,800 jobs in February 2019. UPS and FedEx are included in this industry, which has become more highly seasonal with employment ramping up by 4,100 jobs during October through December 2018, then declining 3,800 jobs by February.
Warehousing and storage – an industry dominated by warehouses of major national retailers – grew rapidly over the past three years. It employed 9,900 in February, a gain of 2,500 since February 2016.