Oregon employment grows in October
In October, Oregon's nonfarm payroll employment grew by 4,600 jobs, following a revised gain of 4,700 jobs in September.
Monthly gains in October were widespread, with nine of the top 13 industries adding jobs, led by professional and business services (up 1,500 jobs); wholesale trade (up 1,000 jobs); and government (up 1,000 jobs). Only two major industries cut jobs substantially in October: private educational services (down 800 jobs) and financial activities (down 900 jobs).
Oregon's unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in October, the same as in August and September. Those were Oregon's lowest unemployment rates since comparable records began in 1976. The U.S. unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent in both September and October.
Oregon's nonfarm payroll employment increased by 38,100 jobs, or 2.0 percent, since October 2017. In that time, construction remained the fastest growing industry, with a gain of 8,200 jobs, or 8.2 percent. Health care and social assistance added 6,200 jobs, or 2.6 percent. Professional and business services also grew rapidly, adding 5,400 jobs, or 2.2 percent.
However, three of Oregon's major industries slowed recently, with gains close to 1 percent since October 2017: financial activities (up 1,000 jobs, or 1.0 percent); leisure and hospitality (up 1,700 jobs, or 0.8 percent); and retail trade (up 1,200 jobs, or 0.6 percent). And two industries declined over the year: information (100 jobs, or down 0.3 percent) and private educational services ( down 800 jobs, or down 2.2 percent).
Over the past two years, retail trade has seen multiple store closures and the bankruptcies of several major national retailers. Those closures and other factors contributed to a moderation in overall retail employment growth.
Since October 2016, Oregon's retail employment grew at an annual rate of only 1.0 percent, which was about half the growth rate of Oregon's total nonfarm payroll employment. Somewhat counterbalancing retail's slowing was moderate growth in wholesale trade (up 2.8 percent in the past 12 months) and in transportation, warehousing, and utilities, which grew consistently close to a 3 percent annual rate over the past six years.