Oregon's unemployment rate has dipped below the 4 percent mark.

Which means, it's, easily, the lowest-such rate since the state started tracking such records in 1976. The March figure also suggests that the Portland rate, set to be revealed Friday, could drop even lower than the 3.5 percent mark logged in February.

All the talk of jobs made us wonder: Where, exactly, are the best jobs? That is, which ones are the highest-paying careers?

SLIDESHOW: Portland area's top paying jobs

We're exploring the topic all week leading up to a package, set for Friday, on jobs in general. For now, though, we're further delving into the above questions by crunching Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2016 (the latest such information available).

In terms of BLS' numbers, the federal group studies workplace data in all U.S. statistical areas. We analyzed the bureau's annual mean wages and, for today's purposes, are presenting the occupations that pay the highest. Later this week, we'll look at the other side of the proverbial, and perhaps literal, coin and unveil the positions that BLS indicates pay the least.

Among other findings:

  • Nine of the top 10 highest-paid positions are in the health care field, with the outlier — "chief executives" — also encompassing positions that could indeed fit in the health arena.
  • In terms of tech jobs, "computer and information research scientists" fared best, logging annual mean wages exceeding $150,000. Such jobs exist with a range of companies, including insurers, colleges and universities and data processing specialists.
  • Many lawyers who become judges take a pay cut when they leave the legal field. Yet judges, according to the BLS data, earn a higher mean wage than attorneys, by about 8 percent.
  • The difference between what a sales manager and what a "sales engineer" makes is only about $70.
  • Among the 25 jobs with the highest mean annual wages, the "financial manager" category counted the most workers. The 5,430 financial managers topped those in the sales manager category by about 500 positions.

All told, office and administrative support positions employ the most Oregon workers, with 165,690 residents employed in such a fashion. At No. 2: sales and related occupations, which provide jobs to 113,160 people.

Click through on the picture above for a look at which occupations pay workers the most in the Portland-Hillsboro-Vancouver area.

Andy is the Portland Business Journal’s digital managing editor, overseeing the daily digital news operation. Sign up here to receive the free news-packed emails he curates every day.