Job Block Seen Through Magnifying Glass

Another month, another round of job gains, but an unchanged statewide unemployment rate.

The Oregon Employment Department reported a gain of 9,900 nonfarm payroll jobs for January, up from 5,600 in December, as Oregon’s private sector continues to set workforce records.

But in the same report, released Tuesday, Oregon’s unemployment rate remained at 4.8%, unchanged from the three previous months. Previously reported rates during the final quarter of 2022 have been adjusted upward, accounting for the changes.

The national unemployment rate in January was 3.4%, its lowest in more than 50 years.

The most recent time that Oregon’s unemployment rate was near its current level was in July 2021, when it was 5.1%.

Three sectors led the way for Oregon job growth in January:

• Health care and social assistance, 2,200 jobs. This sector has expanded by a total of 4,500 jobs from July until January, for a total of 271,800. Before then, this sector showed little net change from its level in early 2021. Social assistance alone added 5,000 jobs in the past 12 months.

• Professional and business services, 1,800 jobs. This sector has expanded rapidly during the past two years, and in the past 12 months, it added 13,000 jobs. It now accounts for 14% of all nonfarm jobs in Oregon.

• Leisure and hospitality services, 1,400 jobs. This sector has continued its comeback from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic three years ago, when business closures and curtailments aimed at curbing the spread of disease prompted big job reductions in this sector. It has gained 12,500 jobs in the past 12 months, but is still 10,600 jobs below its pre-pandemic peak in February 2020.

One sector, private educational services, lost 600 jobs in January to a total of 34,600. Until then, this sector had been stable since May 2022.

The next report for February, a short month, is due March 21.

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