Benton County’s Unemployment Rate at 3.2 Percent
PATRICK O’CONNOR, REGIONAL ECONOMIST
Benton County’s unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in May, essentially unchanged from its revised rate of 3.3 percent in April. Oregon’s statewide unemployment rate in May was 4.2 percent, essentially unchanged from its revised April rate of 4.3 percent.
Benton County’s employment gains in May were more than normal; total nonfarm employment increased 300 jobs, when an employment gain of 190 jobs would be expected. As a result, seasonally adjusted employment increased 110 between April and May. Benton County’s employment level was 5,030, or 12.9 percent, above its pre-recession employment peak in November 2007.
Benton County’s employment has added 330 over the past year, a 0.7 percent increase. Benton County’s employment growth has been outpaced by the state and the nation. Oregon’s employment grew 2.5 percent and the U.S. grew 1.6 percent.
Benton County’s private sector added 480 jobs over the past year, growing 1.7 percent. The public sector shed 150 jobs, down 0.9 percent.
The fastest-growing private-sector industries over the past year were mining, logging, and construction (+200 jobs, or 13.7%); education and health services (+260 jobs, or 3.6%); and leisure and hospitality (+110 jobs, or 2.6%).