Oregon’s unemployment rate held steady at 6% in April, the same as in March, following three months in which the rate had declined slightly, according to data released Tuesday by the Oregon Employment Department.

Throughout the middle and end of 2020, Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped sharply, and is now down considerably from its recent high point of 13.2% in April 2020. The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 6.1% in April, from 6% in March. The Douglas County unemployment rate for April is scheduled to be released next Tuesday.

“Although Oregon’s unemployment rate hit a stand-still in April, underlying labor force dynamics continue shifting,” ail Krumenauer, state employment economist with the Oregon Employment Department, said in a news release. “April marked the first month since the pandemic recession started that those experiencing permanent job losses were the largest group of laid off Oregonians. Long-term unemployment has also reached its highest point in nine years.”

In Oregon, hiring slowed as nonfarm payroll employment grew by 2,200 in April, following monthly gains averaging 14,000 in the prior three months, according to the Oregon Employment Department data. Monthly gains were concentrated in government, which increased by 2,300 jobs, and leisure and hospitality, which added 2,000 jobs.

Monthly declines were largest in manufacturing , which shed 900 jobs, and transportation, warehousing, and utilities, and retail trade which both saw losses of 800 jobs.

In April, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment totaled 1,855,600, a drop of 117,400 jobs, or 6% from the pre-recession peak in February 2020. Oregon’s employment dropped to a low of 1,687,500 by April 2020. Since then, Oregon has recovered 168,100 jobs, or 59% of the jobs lost between February and April 2020, the Oregon Employment Department said.

Employment totals for recent months were revised upward, indicating somewhat higher jobs totals in Oregon in late 2020 and early this year. Total nonfarm employment was revised upward by approximately 13,000 jobs per month for December 2020 through March 2021. Upward revisions were most pronounced in leisure and hospitality (+6,000 jobs), health care and social assistance (+3,000), and retail trade (+1,900).

These gains were partially offset by downward revisions that were most pronounced in professional and business services, which lost 2,000 jobs.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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