Oregon unemployment drops to lowest level since 2008


Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.0 percent in November to 6.7 percent in December, the lowest level since August 2008, right before the worst days of the financial crisis which led to the Great Recession.

Jobs grew rapidly again in December. During the last three months of 2014, employment grew by a total of 24,300, the largest three-month gain since comparable records began in 1990. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 8,200 in December. This followed a revised gain of 8,700 in November, with growth not as strong as the originally estimated gain of 11,200. These monthly job totals are produced each month by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Gains in December were broad-based, as seven of the major industries each added at least 800 jobs. It is rare for so many industries to gain that many jobs in one month. Retail trade (+2,000 jobs), government (+2,000), health care and social assistance (+1,600), construction (+900), transportation, warehousing and utilities (+800), leisure and hospitality (+800), and other services (+800) were the industries adding the most jobs.

A large drop in the number of unemployed Oregonians coincided with December’s employment growth. The labor force barely grew in December, unlike the rapid labor force growth seen in recent months. Fewer unemployed and an unchanged labor force contributed to the drop in the unemployment rate.

Note: all numbers above are seasonally adjusted.

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the December county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Monday, January 26th and the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for January on Tuesday, March 3rd.

The Oregon Employment Department is responsible for releasing Oregon’s monthly payroll employment and labor force data. The data are prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The BLS estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other inputs.

The Oregon Employment Department publishes payroll employment estimates that are revised quarterly by using employment counts from employer unemployment insurance tax records. All department publications use this official Oregon series data unless noted otherwise. This month’s release incorporates the April, May and June 2014 tax records data. The department continues to make the original nonfarm payroll employment series available; these data are produced by the BLS and are revised annually.