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."