Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Rises to 3.7% in August

Oregon’s unemployment rate rose to 3.7% in August from 3.5% in July. This was the first increase in Oregon’s unemployment rate since April 2020. The U.S. unemployment rate was the same as in Oregon, at 3.7% in August and 3.5% in July. Over the past six months, Oregon’s unemployment rate has remained low by historic standards, averaging 3.6% during that period.

In Oregon, nonfarm payroll employment grew by 9,300 in August, following an upwardly revised gain of 13,000 jobs in July. Monthly gains in August were largest in government (+3,800 jobs), leisure and hospitality (+1,900), construction (+1,400), professional and business services (+1,000), and manufacturing (+900). Other services (-800 jobs) and financial activities (-700) were the only major industries that shed more than 500 jobs.

With the rapid gains in total nonfarm payroll jobs in July and August, Oregon reached a record employment total of 1,974,700 jobs in August, which was 2,500 jobs above the pre-pandemic peak reached in February 2020. The private sector has also regained all of the jobs it lost during the pandemic recession.

Over the past 12 months, total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 74,800 jobs, or 3.9%. The following industries are powering the recovery, as each added more than 6,000 jobs while expanding at a faster rate than total nonfarm: leisure and hospitality (+18,500 jobs, or 9.9%), construction (+9,600 jobs, or 8.7%), manufacturing (+9,900 jobs, or 5.3%), and professional and business services (+11,700 jobs, or 4.7%).

Local government strayed from its usual seasonal pattern as local schools experienced fewer summer job reductions than normal, adding jobs in both July and August. This trend followed the first six months of the year, when local government employment averaged nearly 12,000 fewer jobs than in 2019, prior to the recession. But with fewer short-term job reductions in July and August of this year, local government education employed a total of 108,600 in August, which was 2,500 above its level in August 2019.

Next Press Releases

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the August county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, Sept. 20, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for September on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

All numbers in the above narrative are seasonally adjusted, except for local government

The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) work
cooperatively to develop and publish monthly Oregon payroll employment and labor force
data. The estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. 
The estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other sources.

The Oregon Employment Department publishes payroll employment estimates that are
revised by using employment counts from employer unemployment insurance tax records.
All department publications use this Official Oregon Series data unless noted otherwise. This
month’s release incorporates the October, November and December 2021 tax records data.
The department continues to make the original nonfarm payroll employment series
available; these data are produced by the BLS.

News Release from Oregon Employment Department