Oregon jobless rate dips slightly

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in March and 8.3 percent in February and 8.2 percent in March. This is Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate since October 2008 when the rate was 7.7 percent.

The February rate was originally reported as 8.4 percent.

The private sector added 2,700 jobs over the month, while the public sector cut 800. Each of the past four months have seen gains, with monthly increases particularly strong in January (up 5,400 jobs) and February (up 6,600).

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment grew by 1,900 in March and by 6,600 in February. It has added an average of 3,800 jobs per month over the past four months.

Two major industries have recently regained record employment levels after suffering steep losses during the 2008-2009 recession.

Professional and business services, on a seasonally adjusted basis, added 400 jobs in March to reach 199,300. This put the industry at a record level, just surpassing its previous peak of 198,900 reached in April 2008.

The other major industry that suffered steep job losses in recent years but has now fully recovered into record territory is accommodation and food services.

On a seasonally adjusted basis it added 1,200 jobs in March to reach 152,700. This was several hundred jobs above its pre-recession peak of 151,500 reached in March 2008.

During the recession, this industry that includes restaurants and hotels lost 11,800 jobs, or nearly 8 percent, and reached its lowest point in December 2009.

Over the past three years the industry’s hiring has accelerated, and just in March reached its highest level ever.

Over the past 12 months leisure and hospitality added 5,400 jobs, or 3.4 percent. Food services and drinking places, a major component sector, added 4,200 in that time.

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