Oregon adds nearly 14,000 jobs in February as jobless rate edges downward

Nearly all job gains in leisure and hospitality as workers were hired back

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.1% in February, from 6.2% in January, as the state gained nearly 14,000 jobs, the Oregon Employment Department reported Tuesday.

After dropping rapidly during May through November of last year, Oregon’s unemployment rate declined at a slower pace in recent months, the agency said.

During the past 10 months, the pace of recovery in the national unemployment rate has mirrored Oregon’s experience. The U.S. unemployment rate also declined by a tenth of a percentage point last month, to 6.2% in February, from 6.3% in January.

Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment rose 13,900 jobs in February, following a gain of 7,000, as revised, in January.

Nearly all of the jobs gained in February were in leisure and hospitality (+11,100 jobs), where some fitness centers and restaurants hired back workers following closures or curtailments due to COVID-19 restrictions or cautions.

Only two other major industries added a substantial number of jobs in February: transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+1,200 jobs) and wholesale trade (+800). Only one major industry —  professional and business services, which cut 900 jobs in February —  performed substantially below its normal seasonal trend.

In February, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment totaled 1,819,100, a drop of 153,900 jobs, or 7.8% from the pre-recession peak one year ago, in February 2020. Oregon’s employment dropped to a low of 1,687,500 by April. Since then, Oregon has recovered 131,600 jobs, or 46% of the jobs lost between February and April 2020.

Even as overall economic activity hasn’t recovered fully, some industries reached record-high employment in February. Transportation, warehousing, and utilities is up 5,300 jobs, or 7.2%, over the year. Professional and technical services hit a fresh record high for the first time in over a year as it added 600 jobs since February 2020, a gain of 0.6%. Architectural and engineering services expanded the fastest of the published industries in this category, adding 700 jobs, or 4.0%.

Next Press Releases

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the February county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, Mar. 30, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for March on Tuesday, Apr. 13.

The PDF version of the news release can be found at QualityInfo.org/press-release. To obtain the data in other formats such as in Excel, visit QualityInfo.org, then within the top banner, select Economic Data, then choose LAUS or CES. To request the press release as a Word document, contact the person shown at the top of this press release.

To file a claim for unemployment benefits or get more information about unemployment programs, visit unemployment.oregon.gov.

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