Salem, Ore. — In December, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment increased by 3,900 jobs, marking a recovery from the revised loss of 5,900 jobs in November. The notable gains in December were observed in health care and social assistance (+2,300 jobs), construction (+1,500), and retail trade (+700). Conversely, losses were reported in financial activities (-700 jobs) and wholesale trade (-600).

Health care and social assistance exhibited continuous job growth in December, with each of its four components expanding both in the month and throughout the year. Social assistance added 1,200 jobs in December, contributing to a total gain of 5,600 jobs in 2023. Ambulatory health care services added 900 jobs for the month and 5,600 for the year, while hospitals (+500 jobs in December) and nursing and residential care facilities (+600) also saw growth.

Construction reached a record high of 123,100 jobs in December, with residential building construction particularly robust, adding 500 jobs in December and 2,300 jobs over the past year.

Retail trade followed its normal seasonal pattern during the holiday shopping season, but its employment level in December 2023 was slightly lower than in the previous two years. The sector employed 207,900 people, approximately 2,300 fewer than in both December 2022 and December 2021.

Despite gaining 4,800 jobs (2.4%) in the past 12 months, the leisure and hospitality industry exhibited recent weakness by cutting 2,600 jobs between August and December.

Financial activities, which peaked in July at 107,100 jobs, experienced a downward trend, losing 3,100 jobs over the past five months. The industry’s current employment level is similar to that of four years ago.

Oregon’s unemployment rate remained at 3.7% in December and 3.6% in November. This marked the eighth consecutive month with Oregon’s unemployment rate ranging between 3.4% and 3.7%. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.7% in both November and December.

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