Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 in Review: Another Winning Year of Job Growth in Oregon

Oregon’s job growth started 2016 with a sprint and finished the year strong, if not quite at a sprint’s pace. Early in the year, the state reached a personal record of 64,200 jobs added in the 12 months through April, before slowing down later in the year. The 49,500 new jobs added from November 2015 to November 2016 was enough to earn bronze as the third fastest November-to-November jobs gain since 2000, drafting behind 2015 and 2014 which came in first and second.

Oregon’s over-the-year growth rate of 2.7 percent was well above the historical average and ranks fifth for growth rates since 2000. That is a brisk rate, but noticeably slower than the previous two years of 3.3 percent in 2015 and 3.0 percent in 2014.

The jobs added in 2016 were not just low-paying jobs. On the contrary, a mix of industries paying lower, middle, and higher average wages contributed to overall job growth. This means the average real hourly wage of Oregon’s workers continued to rise. Now approaching $25.00 per hour, the average real hourly wage in 2016 is the highest it’s been in recent years.

Oregon’s unemployment rate fell over the year, moving from 5.6 percent in November 2015 to 5.0 percent in November 2016. The strong job growth during the year was matched by a fall in the number of unemployed and an increase in Oregon’s labor force. The unemployment rate in 2016 was well below Oregon’s long-term (back to 1976) historical average of 7.2 percent.

Learn more about key industries that drove job growth and the forecast for 2017 in the article "2016 in Review: Another Winning Year of Job Growth in Oregon" by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.

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