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Fewer Oregonians are unemployed now than at any point in the past 44 years, with labor market tightening

Oregon added about 800 jobs in December as the state's unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent. It was the lowest unemployment rate since 1976.

"The latest estimates suggest there are fewer unemployed Oregonians now than at any point since 1976, when comparable records begin," said Nick Beleiciks, Oregon Employment Department's systems and economic analysis manager. "That's especially striking considering Oregon's labor force is twice as large as it was 44 years ago."

Oregon's tight labor market was on display in December. The state's employment grew by 800 jobs last month, following a gain of 3,800 jobs in November. Gains were strongest in the leisure and hospitality industry (up 2,000 jobs).

The state's economy has grown by about 1.4 percent in the past year.

Since December 2018, the fastest growing industries were private educational services (up 1,300 jobs) and transportation, warehousing and utilities (up 2,100 jobs).

Employment Department officials said only retail trade (down 700 jobs), and mining and logging (down 300), lost jobs in the past year.


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