Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Edges Down to 3.7% in April
Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 3.7% in April, from 3.8% in March, reaching its lowest level in more than two years. The rate is now close to Oregon’s record low of 3.4% which occurred in each of the four months of November 2019 through February 2020. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6% in both March and April 2022.
Throughout the past two years, Oregon and the nation have experienced similar trends as their economies and labor markets have recovered from the pandemic recession. Both saw their unemployment rates spike to unusual highs of more than 13% by April 2020, followed by a drop to below 7% six months later. For the past 21 months, Oregon’s unemployment rate has been within a half percentage point of the U.S. unemployment rate.
Payroll employment trends have also been similar for Oregon and the U.S., with both losing roughly 14% of payroll jobs between February and April 2020, then recovering roughly a third of those jobs three months later, followed by a more gradual recovery leading up to April 2022. However, Oregon has slightly lagged the U.S. jobs recovery overall, with the U.S. adding back 95% of jobs lost during the pandemic-induced recession, while Oregon has only recovered 88% of the jobs.
In April, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 4,200 jobs, following a revised gain of 7,000 jobs in March. Over-the-month gains were largest in health care and social assistance (+1,800 jobs), manufacturing (+1,300), and professional and business services (+1,300). The only major industry to cut at least 1,000 jobs was other services (-1,000 jobs).
Professional and business services has grown rapidly and consistently over the past two years. In April, employment reached 261,700, another record high for the industry. Recent revisions to the jobs tallies boosted the past six months’ employment upward by about 3,000 above original estimates.