PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon has had jobs whiplash.
The state lost jobs by the hundreds of thousands in the first months of the pandemic, dwarfing the losses sustained in the Great Recession.
But by this spring, with vaccines widely available and Covid-related restrictions falling, employers are adding jobs faster than workers are willing to apply for them, prompting some to declare a labor shortage.
Businesses were still working to make up for losses in most parts of Oregon by the one-year mark since the pandemic took hold. Last month, state economist Josh Lehner hailed March's strong jobs numbers as Oregon added 20,000 new jobs but wrote that work remained.
"Today only 54% of the recessionary lost jobs have been recovered," Lehner wrote. "Even with a strong recovery expected, it will take some time before we fully regain all of the lost jobs. The Covid recession was, and is, that deep."
Take Multnomah County. It has regained more than 24,000 jobs since early 2020, but those account for only 20% of the total lost here.
According to data website WalletHub, Oregon is among the lower half of the states in terms of jobs recovery, coming in at No. 37.
"Oregon’s employment is a bit lower than the nation’s due to the pandemic and more restrictive health measures," Lehner wrote. "As the economy reopens and the pandemic wanes due to rising vaccinations, these gaps are expected to close in the year ahead."
To gauge Oregon's progress, we ranked its 36 counties by percentage of jobs recovered, according to the Oregon Employment Department. Click through the gallery to see the progress.
The Portland Business Journal is a KGW News partner.