SALEM, Ore. — Unemployment in the state of Oregon reached another record low in August, according to the Oregon Employment Department (OED) — hitting a rate of 3.8 percent, the lowest since comparable records began in 1976.
The state hit its last record low in July at 3.9 percent. The overall U.S. unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in both July and August, meaning that Oregon now has a slightly lower unemployment rate than the country at large.
Unemployment rates have seen a slow and steady decline beginning in 2009, after skyrocketing during the housing crash of 2008.
According to OED, the number of unemployed eligible workers in August dropped to 80,500 — down from 88,000 in August of last year.
The low number comes due to a "very tight job market," OED says, with many people just beginning to enter the labor force getting "snapped up by employers." There are also fewer people entering the job market now than there were several years ago, about a third of those seen in the early 2010s.
But the state has also seen a slowdown in new jobs, with a gain of 3,400 jobs in July and only 900 in August. Most have those gains were concentrated in the construction, wholesale and retail industries. Jobs were lost in the hospitality and government sectors.
Since August of 2017, Oregon's "nonfarm payroll employment" (which excludes farm workers, private household employees, and non-profit employees) grew by roughly 42,000 jobs, or 2.2 percent. More than a quarter of that growth came in the construction industry, with manufacturing, business, hospitality and health care seeing much smaller gains over the year.