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State officials say state economy has regained 90% of jobs lost during pandemic

DREAMSTIME PHOTO - Employment Department reports that Oregon's unemployment rate for May was 3.6%, matching the national average and down slightly from 3.7% the previous month.

The addition of 6,200 jobs in May drove Oregon's unemployment rate down a notch from 3.7% to 3.6%, matching the national average.

The Oregon Employment Department, which released its monthly report June 15, also said Oregon's labor force participation during May grew to 63.5%; the national average was 62.3%. Oregon has climbed back from a low of 59.2% in April 2020.

Anna Johnson, senior economic analyst at the OED, said Oregon has regained 90% of the jobs lost during the pandemic, compared with 96% nationwide.

"Oregon had another month of solid job gains in May," she said in a video announcement. "The labor market is still going really strong in Oregon."

The May unemployment rate is close to Oregon's modern record low of 3.4%, which prevailed in each of the four months from November 2019 through February 2020. The rate shot up to a record adjusted high of 13.2% at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in April 2020.

Oregon recorded 2,130,816 individuals in the labor force in May. The gain of 6,200 from April was in line with the average overall gain of 6,000 during the previous six months.

Gains during May were recorded in leisure and hospitality at 3,200 jobs added; transportation, warehousing and utilities, 1,300 jobs; wholesale trade, 900, and manufacturing, 800. Construction lost 1,000 jobs.

According to the report, Oregon's economy added 82,700 nonfarm jobs in the past 12 months, a gain of 4.4%. The leisure and hospitality sector grew by 17.2% with 29,400 jobs, and private educational services by 9.3% with 3,000 jobs. Construction, wholesale trade, professional and business services and manufacturing each saw job growth around 5%.

County and metro area unemployment rates are expected to be released June 22.

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