Oregon Unemployment Rate Essentially Unchanged in November

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Oregon’s November 2017 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.2 percent remained near the U.S. rate of 4.1 percent, essentially unchanged from October’s 4.3 percent.

The low jobless rate doesn’t necessarily paint a rosy picture, though.

“Oregon’s low unemployment rate and other positive labor force measures indicate there’s a shrinking pool of available job seekers,” said Nick Beleiciks, Oregon’s state employment economist. “Businesses are having difficulty finding applicants, and that has slowed Oregon’s job growth in the second half of this year (2017).”

The state’s nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 1,800 jobs in November, after a revised gain of 7,900 jobs in October. Professional and business services cut 2,000 jobs and manufacturing cut 1,700 jobs, accounting for most of the monthly losses. These job losses were offset by gains of 1,300 in other services and 1,200 in leisure and hospitality.

Oregon’s over-the-year growth rate slowed as the result of November’s job losses coupled with the downward revision to October. From November 2016 through November 2017, the state added 30,600 nonfarm payroll jobs, equaling an annual growth rate of 1.7 percent. Oregon is now gaining jobs at a slightly faster pace than the national growth rate of 1.4 percent. This is a slowdown after a long stretch of growth that far outpaced the national rate.

The construction industry still leads Oregon’s over-the-year gains by adding 7,400 jobs, equaling 7.9 percent growth. Health care and social assistance (+6,000 jobs, or 2.6 percent) and leisure and hospitality (+5,200 jobs, or 2.6 percent) are the only industries that expanded by more than 2 percent. Many major industries grew within the one-percent range. Professional and business services growth has slowed dramatically to 1.1 percent, adding 2,600 jobs. This is down from about 4 percent per year throughout much of the preceding seven-year period. Several industries, including wholesale trade, manufacturing, mining and logging, and other services, have stopped growing, maintaining roughly the same employment as a year ago.

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