Oregon’s economy added about 7,500 jobs in March, the largest since November 2005 when 9,300 jobs were added. The state’s unemployment rate in March was 6.9 percent, nearly unchanged from 6.8 percent in February.

State employment officials say the rapid job growth in recent months might be pulling people back into the labor market. Nearly five years into the economic recovery, rapid gains in construction employment and an end to overall government job declines have lent support to more broad-based economic expansion, officials say.

The jobs report indicated economic growth accelerated in March, with many of the major industries adding at least 1,000 jobs. Construction shot up by 1,800 jobs, following a gain of 1,300 in February. Leisure and hospitality bounced back from a one-month dip, adding 2,100 in March. In addition, five industries added close to 1,000 jobs: retail trade (up 1,200 jobs), financial activities (up 900), professional and business services (up 1,200), private educational services (up 800), and health care and social assistance (up 1,400). The only industry showing a large loss in March was wholesale trade, which shed 1,000 jobs.

During the past 12 months, Oregon’s economic expansion has added about 46,300 jobs. The private sector added 43,700 jobs, while government added 2,600 jobs. Construction grew at the fastest pace, adding 7,800 jobs since March 2013.

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