Oregon’s unemployment rate fell to 4.4% in March, down from 4.7% in February.
Over the past 20 months since August 2024, the unemployment rate in Oregon has been relatively flat and near historic lows. The unemployment rate averaged 4.3% at the time, while it ranged between 3.5% and 4.8%.
In March, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payrolls increased by 2,400 jobs, after a revised loss of 2,700 jobs in February.
In March, the largest gains were in health care and social assistance (+1,600 jobs) and professional and business services (+1,200). The only major industries that cut a significant number of jobs were retail (-900 jobs) and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-500).
Medicare and social assistance have added jobs at a rapid pace over the past year. Since March 2024, it has added 8,300 jobs, up 3.1%. Almost all of the gains for the year have been in social assistance, which has added 5,400 jobs since March 2024 and is now 2,500 jobs above its pre-pandemic high. Hospitals added 800 jobs in March, after a small gain over the previous 11 months.
Professional and Business Services has grown rapidly over the past three years. It added 8,900 jobs, or 3.4%, since March 2024. One of its component industries, administrative services and waste services, has been the main driver of job expansion recently, adding 4,400 jobs, or 4.2%, in the past 12 months. Employing 110,400 in March, this large industry makes up 1 in 20 nonfarm jobs in Oregon. They include businesses such as temporary assistance services, janitorial services, landscaping services, and call centers.
Retailing has claimed nearly 210,000 jobs over the past two years, with a slight downward trend over the past year. Since March 2024, the broad retail sector has lost 1,600 jobs (-0.8%). Most retail components cut between 100 and 600 jobs. The only published ingredient industry that expanded at that time was food and beverage retailers, who added 900 jobs.