State jobless hits record low

By Oregon Employment Department,

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to a record low of 4.5 percent in March—the lowest point since comparable records began in 1976. Oregon’s February unemployment rate was 4.8 percent. A year ago, in March 2015, Oregon’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent.

With the U.S. unemployment rate at 5.0 percent in March, Oregon’s unemployment rate now sits half a percentage point below the nation’s. The last time Oregon’s rate was half a percentage point below the U.S. rate was in November 1995.

“Rapid job growth and a historically low unemployment rate mean that Oregon’s labor market is stronger than it’s been in decades,” said state employment economist Nick Beleiciks. “Businesses are raising wages to attract the help they need, and it’s working because people are flocking to Oregon’s labor force.”

Oregon’s payroll employment grew by 3,900 in March, following a revised gain of 7,400. The March gain was close to the average monthly pace seen over the past three years. In March, three major industries each added more than 1,000 jobs: health care and social assistance (+1,400 jobs); wholesale trade (+1,300); and professional and business services (+1,200).

Listen to State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks discuss this months figures:

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