March 16, 2021 10:40 a.m.
Oregon added 13,900 jobs in February as the state’s unemployment rate dropped slightly.
A release from the Oregon Employment Department said the new rate is 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent in January. After dropping rapidly between May and November of last year, Oregon’s unemployment rate declined at a slower pace in recent months. The release said during the past ten months, the pace of recovery in the national unemployment rate has mirrored Oregon’s experience. The U.S. unemployment rate also declined by a tenth of a percentage point last month, going from 6.3 percent in January to 6.2 percent.
The latest gain in nonfarm payroll employment following an increase of 7,000 jobs, as revised, in January. Nearly all the jobs gained in February were in leisure and hospitality, which saw 11,100 jobs added. That is due to some fitness centers and restaurants hiring back workers following closures or curtailments due to COVID-19 restrictions. The release said only two other major industries added a substantial number of jobs in February. Transportation, warehousing and utilities gained 1,200 jobs while wholesale trade added 800. Only one major industry, professional and business services, which cut 900 jobs in February, performed substantially below its normal seasonal trend.
The release said in February, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment totaled 1,819,100, a drop of 153,900 jobs, or 7.8 percent from the pre-recession peak one year ago in February of 2020. Oregon’s employment dropped to a low of 1,687,500 by April. Since then the state has recovered 131,600 jobs, or 46 percent of the jobs lost between February and April of 2020.
The release said even as overall economic activity hasn’t recovered fully, some industries reached record high employment in February. Transportation, warehousing and utilities is up 5,300 jobs or 7.2 percent over the year. Professional and technical services hit a fresh record high for the first time in over a year as it added 600 jobs since February 2020. That’s a gain of .6 percent. Architectural and engineering services expanded the fastest of the published industries in the category. It added 700 jobs or 4 percent.