Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Has Returned to a Statistic Not Seen Since 1995

Reason no. 4 to love Portland right now.

So few people in the Portland area are officially out of work that we've returned to a statistic not seen since the first term of the Bill Clinton presidency—an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent.

We haven't seen the number that low since 1995.

Since 2007, the metro area has ranked in the top 5 of the country's 100 largest cities for its increase in high-paying jobs.

The category for doctors, lawyers, accountants, managers and any other professions for which the average pay is at least $60,000 a year has expanded more rapidly than low- or moderate-paying employment, with low-income jobs also increasing. (As elsewhere in the country, it's jobs in the middle that are disappearing.)

But this is still a pleasant reversal from the job crunch after the recession, when Portland got its stereotype as a home to jobless college grads.

"Wages are rising," says Josh Lehner, a state economist, "unemployment is falling, poverty is falling."

2. TriMet Could Soon Stop Charging Life-Ruining Fines

3. You Can Now Smoke Weed While Listening to Live Classical Music

4. Oregon's Unemployment Rate is Incredibly Low

5. Your Favorite Sports Team is Only a Short Walk Away

6. The Blazers Star in Some Weird-Ass Commercials

7. We Now Have a Mountain Bike Park in the City

8. 24 hours after Chamber Music Northwest Burned Down, the Last Concert in the Series Went on as Planned

9. Portland is the Playground of Japanese Architect Kengo Kuma

10. You Can Soon Stream Local Music at the Library

11. Oregon Just Became the First State to Defelonize Hard Drugs

12. East Portland is Getting an Aerial Tree Walk

13. We're the World Capital of Canned Wine

14. Portland is a Hotbed of Small Bookstores

15. Unlike any Other City, We Have Multiple Niche Comedy Festivals

16. Our Developers Are Privatizing Socialism

17. The Nation's Best Airport Keeps Getting Even Better

18. We're Home to the World's First Sneaker Design School

19. Portland Scored the World's First Dog Tap Room

20Weed Prices are Falling From Cheap to Damn Near Free, and We Haven't Yet Found the Bottom

21. Our Local Mini-Mart Chain Makes Snickers Give You Free Candy Bars

22. The View From the MAX Orange Line is One of the Most Striking and Beautiful Paintings in the City 

23. We Are Still No. 1 in Semifactual Superlatives

24. We Make Biking So Accessible

25. You Can Crowdfund Anything Here

26. We Find So Many Ways to be Anti-Trump

27. Our Malls Are Becoming Cultural Embassies

28. Our Humane Society Rescues Pets From All Over the Country 

29. Winter This Year is a Pussycat

30. No One Mourns Closures Like We Do

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.