HOLDING STEADY: Oregon unemployment report

Oregon’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.5 percent in May, the same rate as in the prior two months. This kept the state’s rate close to the national level, as the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in May and 5.0 percent in April.

Oregon’s tight labor market is reflected in low numbers of long-term unemployed. Only about 10,000 Oregonians had been unemployed six months or more in May. This was far less than the more than 100,000 people in this situation during the wake of the Great Recession.

About 28,000 Oregonians were unemployed due to a job loss in May. In contrast, during the worst of the recession, more than 140,000 Oregonians were unemployed due to a job loss. Other reasons people are unemployed include those who have voluntarily quit their jobs and those entering the labor market.

Payroll employment gained only 1,200 in May, following gains averaging 5,300 per month over the prior 12 months. In May, most industries closely followed their normal seasonal patterns, with only a few major industries deviating substantially from their typical trend. Retail trade added 800 jobs and financial activities added 800. Meanwhile, other services cut 600 jobs while manufacturing cut 400.

Despite the modest May job gains, Oregon added 61,300 nonfarm payroll jobs over the year, equaling a growth rate of 3.5 percent. Since May 2015, construction grew at the fastest rate of the major industries, adding 8,100 jobs or 9.9 percent. The second fastest growing industry was professional and business services, which added 12,700 jobs, or 5.6 percent. Several other industries expanded by at least 4 percent: information (1,600 jobs, or 4.9%), other services (2,900 jobs, or 4.8%), health care and social assistance (9,900 jobs, or 4.5%), and leisure and hospitality (7,600 jobs, or 4.0%).

Manufacturing was the only major industry to decline since May 2015, as it cut 1,300 jobs, equaling a loss of 0.7 percent. May was the fourth consecutive month of declines in manufacturing. Several component industries within manufacturing cut jobs over the year including sawmills ( 300 jobs), primary metals ( 500), transportation equipment (-300), and paper manufacturing (-200).