Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 3.7 percent in April from 3.8 percent in March, reaching a new record low since comparable records began in 1976. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in April. Oregon’s rate was significantly below its year-ago rate of 5.0 percent in April 2016.
In April, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 6,600 following a revised gain of 1,300 in March. Gains were widespread among the industries, with eight of the 14 major industries each adding close to 1,000 jobs. Meanwhile only three industries cut jobs, and those losses were modest: government (-700 jobs), wholesale trade (-500), and information (-300).
Over the past 12 months, Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment rose 39,100, or 2.1 percent, which was a deceleration from the growth rate near or above 3 percent throughout much of the past four years. Despite the deceleration, Oregon is still growing faster than the U.S. growth rate of 1.6 percent.
Since April 2016, Oregon’s construction sector grew the fastest of the major industries, adding 6,400 jobs, or 7.2 percent. Within construction, specialty trade contractors and construction of buildings grew quickly. Transportation, warehousing and utilities (+3,600 jobs, or 6.0 percent) also expanded rapidly, due to growth in transportation and warehousing. Professional and business services (+8,700 jobs, or 3.7 percent) was the third-fastest growing major industry category. It was led by strong job gains in employment services. Health care and social assistance (+6,800 jobs, or 3.0 percent) rounded out the list of fastest growing industries, as each of its four component industries added jobs at a rapid clip.