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December's strong job report shows return to 'robust growth'

December's strong job report shows return to 'robust growth'

The jobless rate was down slightly from 4.2 percent in November, driven by a gain of roughly 14,700 jobs during the month. Even though jobs reports between August and November showed a possible slowdown in Oregon's economic expansion, December's strong jobs report "reflects a return to robust growth", according to officials.

The seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for December clocked in at 4.5 percent, six-tenths of a percent lower than the prior year. In both years, the average annual jobless rate was 4.9 percent.

Construction employment rose by an estimated 8,200 jobs in 2017, according to the state Employment Department. "Difficulty finding (and retaining) workers is the biggest challenge many businesses face today", OR state economist Josh Lehner wrote last week in an analysis of the state's job market. Health care and social assistance added 1,000 jobs.

Government employment rose by 3,800 positions.

More news: BC Government calls Kelowna byelection to fill former premier's vacant seat

For example, the retail industry typically adds 3,200 jobs in December. None saw a decline of more than 700 jobs.

Washington state's economy added 6,100 jobs in December, part of the total of more than 95,000 jobs added since December 2016.

Paul Turek, the state economist, credits steady growth for keeping unemployment down.

Oregon's unemployment rate has held steady for the past few months. A year ago at this time, it was 3.7 percent. Mid-Columbia and other local unemployment rates won't be released until next week.


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