Oregon holds steady at just over 4 percent unemployment rate
The latest available unemployment numbers from the state show the unemployment rate in Oregon dropped to 4.2 percent for the month of May.
This is down a slight tick from April, which saw an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent. The state's unemployment rate, according to the Oregon Employment Department, has run between 4 and 4.4 percent dating back to November 2016. Comparatively, the unemployment rate for the country as a whole was 3.6 percent for both April and May.
According to a press release from the unemployment department, during this time Oregon's unemployment rate has been lower than at any time since comparable records began in 1976.
"The previous low was reached in January and February 1995 when Oregon's rate touched 4.7 percent," the release reads. "In addition to the very low level of Oregon's unemployment rate, it has been lower longer than ever before. Since the late-1970s, during the prior five economic expansions, the unemployment rate would generally drop to a bottom in the cycle and then start moving upward within a few months."
In comparison, Oregon's unemployment rate over the past three years has dropped close to 4 percent and remained around that level.
In May, the state's nonfarm payroll employment rose 1,200 jobs, which followed a gain of 4,000 jobs in April. Monthly gains for May were strongest in health care and social assistance, which added 900 jobs, and in construction and government, which each increased 600 jobs. The private educational services industry lost 500 jobs, and retail trade shrunk by 400 jobs.
The state's total economy continued to show steady increases. Since May 2018, total nonfarm payroll employment was up 47,400 jobs, good for a 2.5 percent bump. The biggest gains over the past year were in transportation, warehousing and utilities, which added 4,900 jobs, for a 7.6 increase, and construction, adding 7,500 jobs, which represents a 7.2 percent increase.
Job gains were widespread, according to the release, with five other major industries each adding between 2.5 percent and 3.3 percent to their jobs base in the past year. These industries were manufacturing, which added 6,500 jobs, good for a 3.3 percent bump; health care and social assistance, which added 7,300 jobs, representing a 2.8 percent increase;, professional and business services, adding 6,700 jobs, or a 2.7 percent increase; leisure and hospitality, which added 5,600 jobs, for a 2.7 percent bump; and wholesale trade, which added 1,900 jobs, representing an increase of 2.5 percent.
During that time, none of the major industries cut a substantial number of jobs, although three industries showed little change: retail trade, financial activities and mining and logging.
County-specific data for the month of May was not slated to be available until after press deadline Tuesday.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Allison Inn and Spa will host the Allison Wonderland weekend at summer's end. The two-day event takes place Aug.30-31 and includes a wine reception, a four-course dinner at Jory restaurant, accommodations, a tasting seminar and other events. For two people, the cost is $2,200. For more information, visit www.theallison.com/resort/specials-packages/.
PGE creates new grant program
Portland General Electric has created the PGE Drive Change Fund to give local community organizations and businesses grants to bolster the transportation sector. Funded by the sale of Oregon Clean Fuels Program credits, the PGE Drive Change Fund will return the value of the credits to local communities by advancing transportation electrification projects aimed at expanding mobility options and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Grant sizes range from $5,000 to $575,000. Application will be accepted from July 1 through Aug. 30. For more information about the fund, details on how to apply for a grant or to sign up for the upcoming informational webinar, visit www.portlandgeneral.com/drivechangefund.
Farm Bureau seeking calendar photos
The Oregon Farm Bureau is searching for local photographers to submit their best images of Oregon agriculture for the annual calendar contest. Twelve photographers will be selected to have their work appear in the 2020 Oregon's Bounty calendar. The deadline to submit is Sept. 15 and more information is available online at www.oregonfb.org/calendar.