Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent in November from 7.6 percent, as revised, in October. November marked Oregon's lowest unemployment rate since September 2008, when the rate was 7.2 percent. Rapid declines in Oregon's unemployment rate over the past three months have put Oregon's rate closer to the national rate. The U.S. unemployment rate, which dropped to 7.0 percent in November, has also declined recently, but at a slightly slower pace.

Oregon's unemployment rate is declining primarily because the number of unemployed is dropping. In November, there were 130,896 Oregonians unemployed compared with 156,298 a year earlier. This drop of 25,402 individuals has been good news for many families in the state and for many sectors of Oregon's economy.

November Labor Market Highlights
* Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 7.3 percent in November, the lowest since 7.2 percent in September 2008.
* Oregon's seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose 5,400, which was the 12th month of job gains out of the last 14 months.
* Retail trade accelerated its hiring trend as food stores, auto dealers, and holiday hiring were all strong.

Retail trade stood out for rapid job gains in November. The payroll employment numbers indicate strong demand for workers this year compared with recent years. Retail trade added 2,200 jobs above normal seasonal expectations in November. Although employment levels this year are below the peak reached in late 2007, hiring trends have accelerated in recent months.

In November, retail employed 201,500, which was 5,900 above November 2012. Most published categories within retail were above their comparable figure from last year. Motor vehicle and parts dealers added 1,200 over the year to employ 23,500 in November, which was its highest November since 2008, but still roughly 4,000 below its recent peak in 2007. Nationally, auto sales have been strong, with pickup sales leading the way. Building material and garden supply stores also added 1,200 over the past 12 months. The food and beverage stores industry added 1,800, and at 40,900 in November, was at an all-time record level.

Construction continued to surge ahead, adding 500 on a seasonally adjusted basis in November, following a gain of 700 the prior month. Over the year, it expanded the fastest of all the major industries, having grown 11.8 percent, or 8,100 jobs, since November 2012. As we look forward to the spring and early summer, this uptrend in construction activity, should it continue, bodes well for workers with construction skills who have been out of the industry due to low demand for residential construction in recent years.