Oregon Business – County-By-County Employment Data Shows Quick Job Growth in Portland Area

The August jobs breakdown shows flattened unemployment rates and more Oregonians returning to the workforce

Unemployment was flat in six of Oregon’s 36 counties last month — but rose in the remaining 30, according to data released Tuesday by the Oregon Department of Employment.

Between August 2021 and August 2022, total nonfarm payrolls increased in all six major regions across Oregon, according to the state’s county-by-county employment data report.

Portland’s five metro areas saw job growth of 2.7% year over year. Employment also grew relatively quickly in the central Oregon region (2.6%), the Willamette Valley (2.3%) and the coast (1.8%).

Growth was slower in southern Oregon (1.1%) and eastern Oregon (1.1%), which also have the state’s highest seasonally adjusted unemployment rates. Unemployment was 5.5% in Grant County last month; Klamath County reported 5.3% unemployment, while Curry and Josephine Counties each reported 5% unemployment. But Wheeler County, also in eastern Oregon, had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.7%.

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Other counties with particularly low unemployment rates in August were Hood River (2.9%), Sherman (2.9%), Washington (2.9%) and Benton (3.0%).

Last week’s jobs report showed that unemployment rose to 3.7% in August from 3.5% in July. But the economy also added jobs in August, suggesting the rise in the unemployment rate is due to a surge in the number of jobseekers entering the market.

Overall, Oregon has the same average unemployment rate as the rest of the state — and the state’s unemployment rate remains low by historical standards. In Oregon, nonfarm payrolls rose 9,300 in August this year, after an upwardly revised addition of 13,000 jobs in July. Monthly increases in August were largest in government (+3,800 jobs), leisure and hospitality (+1,900), construction (+1,400), professional and business services (+1,000) and manufacturing (+900) sectors.

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Other services lost 800 jobs and financial activities lost 700 jobs. They were the only major industry to shed over 500 jobs. Non-farm payrolls gains in July and August hit a record 1,974,700 jobs in August, up 2,500 jobs from the pre-pandemic peak reached in February 2020.

Local government jobs bucked the typical seasonal pattern, with fewer than normal summer job cuts in local schools and job additions in both July and August. This trend followed the first six months of the year, when pre-COVID-19 recession pre-COVID-19 local government employment averaged almost 12,000 jobs fewer than in 2019.

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With fewer short-term job cuts in July and August this year, municipal education employed a total of 108,600 in August, up 2,500 from August 2019.

The September 14 jobs report showed that the private sector has also regained all the jobs it lost during the pandemic recession.

Despite inflation, interest rate hikes, and recession fears, Oregonians appear to be working and shutting down businesses.

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