Oregon outpaces nation in job growth rate

Oregon job growth climbed through September, spurred an increase in local government and education jobs, and a low unemployment rate, signaling the state is performing well as it enters the holiday season.

The Oregon Employment Department posted gains of 3.5 percent for job growth during September, bringing faster growth than the nationwide average of 1.7 percent and continuing the state's record of beating the national statistic since 2013, the department announced Tuesday. When adjusted seasonally, the state added 1,200 professional and business services jobs and 1,000 wholesale trade jobs, and saw 3,300 government employees sign on as the school year kicked off.

Oregon has fared well in the last year amid reports of incomes increasing quicker here than the average for the nation. The state has largely rebounded in the wake of the Great Recession, with the state's unemployment rate plummeting to a 40-year low in March. Total personal income grew by 1.3 percent in Oregon during the second quarter this year, translating to $2.3 billion for Oregon workers.

The data released Tuesday shows a "continuation of that strong job growth trend," said Nick Beleiciks, the state economist.

While construction cut more than 1,000 jobs in the month, the industry saw solid year-over-year gains, adding more 7,100 jobs, an 8.6 percent bump compared to September 2015. Mining and logging, however, didn't see any year-over-year changes.

The September data shows a move away from summer recreational jobs and into the school season, he said.

"Seasonal hires haven't really picked up yet," he said, though there should be a slight uptick from the norm in the retail sector with about 1,800 more jobs than usual, according to data from the Office of Economic Analysis.

Since May, Oregon has been first or tied for first with the strongest year-over-year job growth rate in the nation, he said. Idaho is the state's competitor, though its data is released later than Oregon's.

Send questions, comments or news tips to jbach@statesmanjournal.com or 503-399-6714. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMBach.


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