April 13, 2021 10:45 a.m.

Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.0 percent in March, down from 6.1 percent in February.

A report from the Oregon Employment Department said for the past three months, the unemployment rate in the state has ticked down by a tenth of a percentage point each month. During the past eleven months, the pace of recovery in Oregon’s unemployment rate has mirrored the national experience. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.0 percent in March, dropping from 6.2 percent in February.

The report said nonfarm payroll employment rose by 20,100 jobs in March, following a gain of 15,300, as revised, in February. Two-thirds of all the jobs gained were in leisure and hospitality. That sector added 13,900 jobs. Three other major industries each added more than 1,000 jobs. Manufacturing saw a gain of 2,000 jobs. Professional and business services gained 1,300 jobs. Transportation, warehousing and utilities added 1,100 jobs. Construction and private educational services each added 700 jobs. All other major industries performed to their normal seasonal patterns.

The report said the 20,100 total nonfarm jobs added in March was Oregon’s largest monthly gained since 38,300 jobs were added last July. March’s gain was the third monthly increase, following a large drop in December that was a result of the temporary heightened restrictions at the same.

In March, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment totaled 1,840,600, a drop of 132,400 jobs, or 6.7 percent from the pre-recession peak in February 2020. Oregon’s employment dropped to a low of 1,687,500 by April of 2020. Since then, Oregon has recovered 153,100 jobs, or 54 percent of the jobs lost between February and April of 2020.

OED said over the past year, the employment gyrations in leisure and hospitality have accounted for a large share of the swings in Oregon’s total employment. The industry includes restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotels, golf courses, and fitness centers. It employed a peak of 216,300 jobs in February of 2020. That was 11 percent of total nonfarm payroll employment. Then, within two months, leisure and hospitality cut over half its jobs. Since then, the industry retrenched about half the drop, to employ 136,800 jobs in December. Since then the industry added 25,900 jobs over the past three months and is close to its recent high point from last November, but is still far below its February 2020 peak.