Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent in December, from 5.0 percent in November. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December, down from 5.3 percent in December 2015. Oregon’s unemployment rate and its decline over the year are comparable with the U.S.
In December, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 5,000, which was more than the average monthly gain of 4,400 experienced over the prior 12 months. This followed a strong November gain of 5,200 jobs, as revised. December gains were strongest in professional and business services (+1,200 jobs) and government (+1,100). Three other industries added close to 700 jobs: financial activities (+700); health care and social assistance (+700); and construction (+600). Only one major industry had a substantial monthly job loss, as transportation, warehousing and utilities cut 500 jobs.
Over-the-year growth in Oregon continued at a robust pace as payroll employment grew by 2.9 percent since December 2015, nearly double the U.S. growth rate of 1.5 percent. In Oregon, industries growing the fastest during 2016 were construction (+7,000 jobs, or 8.1%); other services (+3,000 jobs, or 4.8%); professional and business services (+10,600 jobs, or 4.5%); and health care and social assistance (+10,200 jobs, or 4.5%). No industry declined over the past 12 months, but manufacturing (+1,200 jobs, or 0.6%) and retail trade (+1,200 jobs, or 0.6%) each expanded by less than 1 percent.