Salem area employment holds steady

The Salem metropolitan statistical area’s (MSA) unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in January, essentially unchanged from its revised December rate of 4.5 percent. Oregon’s statewide unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in January, matching its revised rate in December of 4.3 percent.

Salem’s January employment declines were smaller than normal. Salem shed an estimated 2,800 jobs in January when a decrease of roughly 3,000 would be expected, meaning seasonally adjusted non-farm employment increased by 200. Salem’s employment was 15,500, or 10.1 percent, above its pre-recession employment peak, which occurred in April 2008.

Employment in the Salem MSA grew 1,300 over the past year, a 0.8 percent increase. Salem’s growth was outpaced by the state and the nation. Oregon’s employment grew 1.5 percent over the past year. Nationally, employment was up 1.9 percent over the past 12 months.

Salem’s private sector added 1,200 jobs over the past year, growing 1.0 percent. The public sector added 600 jobs, growing 1.5 percent.

The fastest-growing major private-sector industries over the past year included: construction (+800 jobs, or 7.8 percent) and information (+100 jobs, or 8.3 percent).