SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has signed an executive order freezing the hire of new state employees until the Oregon Legislature approves agency budgets for the upcoming biennium, which is currently facing a $1.6 billion shortfall.

The freeze announced Thursday begins May 1 and only applies to the current budget cycle ending June 30.

The potential savings are still being calculated, but any funds would be rolled into the 2017-2019 budget to help close the gap.

So far, government hiring and pay freezes haven't been part of negotiations in Salem, although Brown's office says any cost-saving moves will be considered.

In a report this week, proposed increases to government workers' compensation for the next two years was reduced from $145 million to $50 million.