Oregon’s Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Experienced Little Change in February

Salem, Ore. — Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 100 jobs in February, following a surge of 9,600 jobs in January. The decline in February was primarily driven by losses in the manufacturing (-1,300 jobs) and financial activities (-1,000) sectors. On the other hand, the construction (+1,400 jobs), private educational services (+1,000), and government (+700) sectors experienced significant gains.

The nondurable goods manufacturing industry saw more job cuts than usual in both January and February. The industry employed 57,800 individuals in February, close to its February figures from the previous two years. However, food manufacturing, which comprises approximately half of nondurable goods manufacturing employment and employed 27,800 individuals in February, was close to its February numbers from the past seven years. The durable goods manufacturing industry did not make much headway, as it remained near 137,000 jobs for the last eight months. Although machinery manufacturing has seen growth recently, it has been offset by declines in computer and electronic product manufacturing.

In February, construction employment rose sharply, reaching another record high of 122,700 jobs. The industry added 7,500 jobs, or 6.5%, over the past year, and all published components of construction increased by 3.8% to 9.3% since February 2022. Building equipment contractors, in particular, grew the fastest, adding 3,000 jobs, or 9.3%, during that time. Both components within construction of buildings saw growth close to 4%, with residential building construction up 800 jobs, or 3.8%, and nonresidential building construction up 500 jobs, or 4.3%.

Government employment rebounded to its pre-pandemic high of early 2020, rising to 302,100 jobs in February. Local government education rose to 139,100 jobs, which was 6,500 jobs higher than its figure from a year ago and is now nearly back to its February 2020 total of 141,900. Meanwhile, local government, excluding education, has slowly expanded over the past eight months, employing 97,700 individuals in February.

Oregon’s unemployment rate remained at 4.7% in February, barely altered from January’s rate of 4.8%. The state’s unemployment rate averaged 4.8% over the last six months. In contrast, the United States’ unemployment rate rose to 3.6% in February from 3.4% in January.