Oregon’s unemployment rate rose to 4.1% in October

Oregon added 5,200 jobs in October even as the state’s unemployment rate rose to 4.1% and economic forecasters warned that a mild recession is likely over the next year.

The state’s unemployment rate edged up 3.8% in September, topping 4% for the first time since the start of 2022. It’s now slightly above the national unemployment rate of 3.7%.

“Despite rising unemployment, it is still very low by historical standards, at 4.1% in Oregon,” state employment economist Gail Krumenauer said in a taped statement.

Krumenauer noted that after a net loss of jobs in September, hiring rebounded in October. The unemployment rate is measured differently than the statewide job count. For several reasons, it is possible that the unemployment rate will increase even if more positions are filled.

In fact, Oregon’s private sector hit a record high of 1,682,300 jobs in October, according to the Oregon Department of Employment. That’s well above its pre-pandemic peak.

Three sectors created more than 1,000 jobs each last month: financial activities; manufacturing; and health care and social assistance. Within the broad category of financial activities, employment gains in real estate and leasing were particularly robust, with 1,900 new jobs. Construction and leisure and hospitality businesses also created hundreds of jobs, with construction also hitting a record number of jobs.

Conversely, government and retail groups lost hundreds of jobs last month.

State economic forecasters warned on Wednesday that they expect a a mild recession is expected to hit next year, causing the state’s unemployment rate to peak at 5.4% at the start of 2024. Forecasters predict a loss of about 24,000 jobs, many in construction and manufacturing-related industries. “A mild recession is now the most likely outcome for the economy,” the state economists wrote in their quarterly forecast.

It’s too early to tell how layoffs in the tech industry might affect Oregon‘s workforce. Intel, the state’s largest corporate employer, said last month it would take aggressive cost-cutting measures including targeted job cuts. The Amazon, Twitter and Meta layoff plans have rocked the tech world, but their impact is far more pronounced in Washington. Meta and Twitter fired at least 900 Washington employees so far.

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