Portland, Ore. — The Portland metropolitan area’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.0% in February, up from 3.8% in January but lower than the 4.3% rate reported a year ago. Approximately 65,600 area residents were unemployed, marking an increase of 12,900 compared to the same period last year. Statewide, Oregon’s unemployment rate stood at 4.2%, while the national rate saw a slight uptick to 3.9%.

Employers in the area added 3,200 jobs in February, following a gain of 500 jobs in January. Construction saw a notable rebound, doubling the typical number of jobs added for this time of year. Professional and business services also exceeded seasonal trends, primarily due to a surge in temporary help hiring. Health care and social assistance sectors recorded solid gains across all published components.

However, manufacturing continued its slow decline, shedding 700 jobs in February. Despite recovering most pandemic-related losses by the fall of 2022, this sector has seen declines in 15 of the past 16 months.

Overall, job growth in the Portland metro area slowed throughout 2023, and despite gains in the first two months of 2024, employment has dipped slightly below year-ago levels, with a decrease of 13,000 jobs (1.0%). Nearly all major industries experienced declines, ranging from a 9.4% decrease (2,600 jobs) in the information sector to a 1.7% drop (700 jobs) in other services, which include repair shops, religious organizations, dry cleaners, and personal care services.

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