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Jul-14-2015 13:40printcomments

Oregon's Unemployment Rate Rises in June, Job Growth Continues

Three out of every five Oregonians, 16 years and over, are working or looking for work...the lowest participation rate since comparable records began in 1976.

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(SALEM, Ore.) - Oregon's unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in June, a slight increase from May's rate of 5.3 percent.

The increase was not a surprise because one characteristic of Oregon's labor market following the Great Recession has been small increases in the unemployment rate during the summer months.

Unemployment typically rises each summer as movers to Oregon, recent graduates, and students on summer break look for jobs. However, the influx of unemployed during each of the past four summers was larger than expected, which led to temporary increases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate.

This summer could be showing a similar pattern.

Despite the slight increase in June, the unemployment rate remained significantly lower than the June 2014 rate of 7.0 percent.

Oregon's unemployment rate in June remained close to the national unemployment rate of 5.3 percent.

Oregon's labor force participation rate was 60.3 percent in June, the lowest participation rate since comparable records began in 1976.

Put another way, three out of every five Oregonians, 16 years and over, are working or looking for work.

Labor force participation has been falling as a larger share of the population reaches retirement age and leaves the labor force. Oregon's trend is similar to the nation's. The national labor force participation rate was 62.6 percent in June, the lowest it has been since 1977.

Oregon's payroll employment added a seasonally adjusted total of 2,300 jobs in June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retail trade added 3,100 jobs, bouncing back from a loss of 1,400 jobs in May.

The government sector added 1,800 jobs, most of which were in local government. Other industry sectors registered smaller job gains or losses, resulting in the total gain of 2,300 jobs.

Taking a longer-term view, payroll employment grew by 52,100 jobs since June 2014. The resulting over-the-year job growth rate was 3.0 percent in Oregon, much faster than the national job growth rate of 2.1 percent.

Oregon's over-the-year job growth has consistently outpaced the nation since 2013.

Source: Oregon Employment Dept.

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