A key economic report shows Oregon's leisure and hospitality sector is helping restore large job gains across the state,
The Oregon Employment Department reports nonfarm payroll employment grew by 6,200 in May, following gains averaging 6,000 jobs in the prior six months.
Gains and losses
Monthly gains in May were largest in leisure and hospitality (+3,200 jobs); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+1,300); wholesale trade (+900); and manufacturing (+800). Construction (-1,100 jobs) was the only major industry that shed a substantial number of jobs.
Over the past 12 months, nonfarm payrolls rose by 82,700 jobs, or 4.4%. Leisure and hospitality accounted for more than a third of these gains, growing by 29,400 jobs, or 17.2%. Private educational services grew by 3,000 jobs, or 9.3%, which was the second fastest growth rate of the major industries. Several industries grew by close to 5% since May 2021, including construction; wholesale trade; professional and business services; and manufacturing. None of the major industries declined a substantial amount over the past 12 months.
Durable goods manufacturing growth accelerated, as the industry added 8,800 jobs, or 6.9%, during the past 12 months. All of its component industries added jobs in that time. Computer and electronic products (+4,200 jobs, or 11.2%) added the bulk of jobs in durable goods manufacturing. Primary metals manufacturing (+800 job, or 12.3%) grew at the fastest rate, while three other component industries each added close to 1,100 jobs—machinery, fabricated metals, and wood products.
Job participation rate rising
In May, the participation rate rose to 63.5%, its highest reading in 10 years. This measure of how many people are working or looking for work has risen rapidly since reaching a low of 59.2% in April 2020 during the worst of the COVID recession. Oregon’s labor force participation rate of 63.5% in May was well above the comparable U.S. figure of 62.3%.
Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 3.6% in May, from 3.7% in April, reaching its lowest level in more than two years. The rate is close to Oregon’s record low of 3.4%, which occurred in each of the four months of November 2019 through February 2020. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6% in both April and May 2022.