Thursday, January 11, 2018

2017 in Review: Job Growth Slows as Unemployment Reaches Record Low

Oregon’s job growth slowed in 2017 to its slowest rate in five years. The slowdown wasn’t caused by employers needing fewer workers. This slowdown seems to be the result of employers struggling to find enough workers to fill their vacancies, which is limiting the amount of job growth.

Oregon employers added a healthy 50,600 jobs in the 12 months through June, before slowing down later in the year. The 30,600 new jobs added from November 2016 to November 2017 were the fewest jobs added since 2012.

Oregon’s over-the-year growth rate of 1.7 percent was slower than the historical average and just the ninth fastest growth since 2000. That is noticeably slower than the previous two years of 2.8 percent in 2016 and 3.4 percent in 2015.
The jobs added in 2017 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 reaching $25.90 per hour, the average real hourly wage in 2017 was the highest it’s been in recent years. But the rate of wage gains was slower than the year before.

Oregon’s unemployment rate was in record low territory for all of 2017. It reached a low of 3.6 percent in May 2017, before drifting up to 4.2 percent by November. The annual average unemployment rate for the year will be the lowest on record.

Read more about 2017's labor trends in the "Year in Review" article, written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks

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