Oregon’s Employment Picture Improves in October, “Freeze” Causes Uncertainty
Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% in October from 7.9% in September, according to data released Tuesday from the Oregon Employment Department. For the past few months, Oregon’s unemployment rate has closely tracked the national unemployment rate which also fell to 6.9% in October from 7.9% in September, though the government-ordered COVID-19 “freeze” places the state’s outlook into a highly uncertain position.
Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 14,200 jobs in October, following a revised gain of 9,300 jobs in September. Over the past four months the rate of job growth has averaged 14,400 per month, following more rapid growth in May and June, when 74,500 jobs were added. Oregon employers added jobs in each of the past six months, and the state has recovered 46% of the jobs cut in March and April.
Monthly job gains in October were largest in construction (+6,100 jobs), professional and business services (+4,300), and leisure and hospitality (+4,300). Declines were largest in government (-7,400 jobs).
The leisure and hospitality sector continues to be the Oregon industry most impacted by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employment in the segment bounced back substantially in May and June, but job gains have slowed over the past four months. Employment totaled 162,000 in October, which was down 54,300 jobs, or 25%, since its peak month of February.
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