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Oregon adds more than 20,000 jobs in March; jobless rate ticks downward

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Two-thirds of job gains in leisure and hospitality amid 'gyrations' in sector

SALEM. Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.0% in March, from 6.1% in February, as the state gained more than 20,000 jobs, the Oregon Employment Department reported Tuesday.

For the past three months, Oregon’s unemployment rate has ticked down by a tenth of a point each month.

"During the past 11 months, the pace of recovery in Oregon’s unemployment rate has mirrored the national experience," the monthly report stated. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.0% in March, from 6.2% in February.

Oregon's nonfarm payroll employment rose 20,100 jobs in March, following a gain of 15,300, as revised, in February. Two-thirds of all the jobs gained in March were in leisure and hospitality (+13,900 jobs).

Three other major industries each added more than 1,000 jobs: manufacturing (+2,000 jobs); professional and business services (+1,300); and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+1,100). Construction and private educational services each added 700 jobs. All other major industries performed close to their normal seasonal patterns.

The 20,100 total nonfarm jobs added in March was Oregon’s largest monthly gain since 38,300 jobs were added in July. March’s gain was the third monthly increase, following a large drop in December that was the result of temporary, heightened restrictions at the time.

In March, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment totaled 1,840,600, a drop of 132,400 jobs, or 6.7% 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 153,100 jobs, or 54% of the jobs lost between February and April 2020.

Over the past year, the employment gyrations in leisure and hospitality have accounted for a large share of the swings in Oregon’s total employment, the Employment Department said.

This broad industry includes restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotels, golf courses, and fitness centers. It employed a peak of 216,300 jobs in February 2020, which was 11% of total nonfarm payroll employment.

Then, within two months, leisure and hospitality cut over half its jobs. Since then, the industry recovered about half the drop, to employ 165,200 jobs by November.

Then, hit by renewed COVID restrictions, the industry retrenched to 136,800 jobs in December. Since then, the industry added 25,900 jobs over the past three months and is close to its recent high point from last November, but is still far below its February 2020 peak.

Next Press Releases

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the March county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, Apr. 20, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for April on Tuesday, May 18.

The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) work cooperatively to develop and publish monthly Oregon payroll employment and labor force data. The estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other sources.

The PDF version of the news release can be found at To obtain the data in other formats such as in Excel, visit, then within the top banner, select Economic Data, then choose LAUS or CES. To request the press release as a Word document, contact the person shown at the top of this press release.

To file a claim for unemployment benefits or get more information about unemployment programs, visit

Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

Government-politics / News / Oregon-Northwest / Top Stories

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  1. I can hardly recognized wait for the morons to come on praising dementia Joe for this. It’s clear the economy was well on the way to recovery long before the Democrats passed their so called Covid relief bill. Yes, the 2 trillion dollar bill where less than 9% went to covid relief instead the monies went to Democrat cronies, bailing out Democrat state and city pension programs that were in trouble long before Covid, teachers unions, democrat politicians’ pet projects, paid leave for federal workers etc.

    1. Not just President Biden’s administration not being the reason for the economic recovery, but also Bunker Baby’s. The economic recovery was planned and implemented by Ex-President Obama.

    2. The economy was doing great under Obama. What did orange butthead do other than a 2 trillion dollar tax cut to the wealthiest and corporations? Obama’s vice president told the former guy to shut up on national tv and then took his job, lmao.

      1. Nope ! You are wrong. The US labor participation rate “tanked” under Obama… here’s yer link… roll up the 25 year “summary” and look at the “Obama Years” ! And then look at the flattening of the downward spiral and uptick under President Trump… If Obama’s economy was “doing great”… why didn’t anyone want to join in ??? … Obama was a disaster- which is why Americans voted for Trump. As for Biden- I challenge you to provide the election results that break-down the demographics as to ‘who” voted for the idiot… You won’t find it- because Biden didn’t win- the election was stolen- and the protesters throughout the nation are out to prove a point.

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