March 9, 2021 10:30 a.m.

Nonfarm payroll employment in Oregon increased by 8,300 jobs in January, driving the rate of unemployment down slightly.

A report from the Oregon Employment Department said unemployment dropped to 6.2 percent in January, down from 6.3 percent, as revised, in December.

The state’s unemployment rate dropped by close to four tenths of a percentage point in each of the last three months in 2020, following more rapid declines during the prior five months. Oregon’s peak unemployment rate, as recently revised, was 13.2 percent in April of last year. The U.S. unemployment rate has also dropped rapidly since April, and reached 6.3 percent in January.

Oregon’s gain in employment follows a loss of 27,000 jobs in December. Three industries each added close to 2,000 jobs in January: retail trade, leisure and hospitality, and private educational services. Two major industries cut about 1,000 jobs: the transportation, warehousing and utilities category, and construction.

The release said despite the net gain, employment in Oregon remains substantially below pre-pandemic levels. Total nonfarm employment has dropped by 162,800 jobs, or 8.3 percent since January. Leisure and hospitality is still down by 76,800 jobs, or 35.6 percent since January of 2020. Private educational services experienced the second largest percentage decline in that time, as it has cut 8,400 jobs or 22.6 percent. The only industry to add jobs in the past 12 months was transportation, warehousing and utilities, which added 4,100 jobs, or 5.6 percent.

The release said newly revised employment numbers show job growth was stronger than initially reported, with upward revisions of about 2,300 jobs during the last six months of 2020. Nondurable goods has added 3,500 jobs since April. Wholesale trade employment was revised upward as it added 1,500 jobs since the spring 2020 low point. Professional and technical services was also revised upward substantially. It had employed 101,100 jobs in January, which was essentially equal to its high point a year ago. For the December data, only three major industries were revised downward substantially due to the annual revisions: retail trade fell by 2,200 jobs, while transportation, warehousing and utilities, and private educational services each lost 1,500 jobs.