Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 5.4 Percent, Inching Below the National Rate

Oregon’s unemployment rate fell from 5.8 percent to 5.4 percent in March. This is the first time Oregon’s rate has been lower than the national rate (5.5%) since 1996, but it is not a big enough difference to be statistically significant.

Over the year, Oregon’s unemployment rate fell by 1.7 percentage points.

“The falling unemployment rate is not unexpected given the state’s solid job growth over the past year,” says State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks. “It just shows how much the state’s economy has improved.”

The state gained more than 56,000 jobs over the year, a gain of 3.3 percent. The solid growth was reflected across a diverse group of industries, including professional and business services, health care and social assistance, and manufacturing.

While these substantial job gains have contributed to the declining unemployment rate, other factors work to move the unemployment rate in the other direction.

“These large drops [in the unemployment rate] won’t continue forever,” according to Beleiciks. “If Oregon’s labor force starts growing like it did last year, we could actually see the unemployment rate rise again, even with the job growth.”

In March, Oregon’s labor force dropped by about 6,500 (seasonally adjusted). The number of employed rose by 1,600, while the number of unemployed decreased by 8,100.

Read the full press release here.

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