Data shows Washington County gains manufacturing jobs
Local economic analysts Emily Starbuck, Lynn Wallis, and Christian Kaylor released their latest data, and it shows the tri-county region has an unemployment rate under 4 percent.
Washington County's unemployment rate in March was at 3.6 percent, while Clackamas and Multnomah counties were at 3.9 percent.
Employers in Washington County have added 4,500 jobs, almost half (2,000) in the manufacturing sector, in the past 12 months, while Clackamas County employers added 2,400, and Multnomah County employers added 4,600 jobs.
Kaylor said Multnomah County saw a 6.8 percent surge in payroll in 2018 - this is the largest increase since 2006.
"A possible explanation for this paradox: in a tight labor market with an unemployment rate below 4 percent, employers are having trouble finding workers. In order to keep existing workers from leaving for better paying jobs elsewhere, employers are raising wages to encourage workers to stick around. It's also possible that employers are giving workers more hours. Again, in a tight labor market it's tough to find new workers and it may be easier for employers to pay overtime to the existing workforce," said Kaylor.