Oregon unemployment rate nears pre-pandemic levels

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The unemployment rate in Oregon dropped to 4.0% in February, a change from 4.2% in January, according to new numbers released by The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

The state’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest level since before the pandemic, which sat at 3.5% in March 2020. 

In February, 59,000 Oregonians had been unemployed for less than six months, which was near the lowest number in two decades.

An additional 24,000 Oregonians had been unemployed for more than six months. That rate reached a peak in April 2021, with 65,000 people unemployed for more than six months. 

Oregon’s confirm payroll employment rose by 12,300 jobs in February, which is the largest monthly gain since July 2021 when 34,800 jobs were added. 

Throughout the month, the largest gains were seen in the sectors below: 

Leisure and hospitality: +3,500 jobs 

Construction: +2,300 jobs

Health care and social assistance: +1,600 jobs

Professional and business services: +1,200 jobs 

Eight other industries each added between 200 and 900 jobs, and none of the major industries had a substantial job loss in February. 

Despite large gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (51,700 jobs added since February 2021), there are still 14,600 jobs left to recover to reach the prior peak in February 2020. 

The industry has now regained 87% of jobs lost early in the pandemic. 

Construction reached another record high of 116,100 jobs in February.

Mild weather in mid-February allowed roofers and other contractors to get jobs done that may have been postponed in more inclement winters.

Professional and technical services employed 106,000 in February and continued its rapid expansion.

It added 4,700 jobs, or 4.6%, since its pre-recession peak in February 2020.

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