Unemployment increases statewide and in Marion and Polk counties

Unemployment rose in Marion County, Polk County and Statewide in November to the highest it’s been in over a year, according to Oregon Employment Department data released in December.

The state’s rise in unemployment departed from stable national unemployment trends which stayed at 3.7%. Though Oregon’s unemployment rate has increased in recent months, it remains low by historical standards and the state has seen significant job growth.

Patrick O’Connor, the department’s regional economist, said that it’s historically rare for Salem to have a sustained unemployment rate below 4.5%

“From 1990 through 2016, Salem’s unemployment rate was only below 4.5% for a 7-month period in 1995. Salem’s long-ran average unemployment rate over the past 31 years is 6.4%,” he wrote in an email to Salem Reporter Tuesday.

Statewide, unemployment rose to 4.4% in November, up from 4.1% in October. It previously peaked at 13.3% in April of 2020.

Marion County followed a similar trend last month, with an unemployment rate of 4.2%, up from 4% in October. 

In November, around 9,100 Salemites were unemployed, up from 8,800 in October according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

In November, there were 1,364 continued unemployment insurance claims in Marion County and 318 in Polk, according to OED data.

Polk County saw a November unemployment rate of 4.1%, up from 3.9% the month before.

Statewide, Oregon added 8,500 nonfarm jobs in November, mostly in government, with 2,900 jobs, followed by health care and social assistance, wholesale trade and leisure and hospitality with over 1,000 jobs each, according to a December press release. According to the release, none of the major industries cut a substantial number of jobs in November. 

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-704-0355.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.