Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in February, its first time below 7.0 percent in more than five years. The last time the state's rate was lower was in August 2008 when the rate was 6.7 percent.

Oregon's unemployment rate has been steadily trending down for more than four years as the economy has recovered from the Great Recession. Recent declines were coupled with moderate employment growth as indicated by the more than 2,000 jobs added in both January and February.

In February, seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2,900 following a revised gain of 2,100 in January. February marked the 8th consecutive monthly gain. The private sector has expanded even longer; the last private-sector job loss was 20 months ago.

Manufacturing added 1,000 jobs in February when a loss of 100 is the normal seasonal pattern. The components with the largest gains were food manufacturing (+400 jobs), computer and electronic product manufacturing (+200), and transportation equipment manufacturing (+200).

Food manufacturing continued its steady expansion of the past eight years, hitting a new February record of 25,300 jobs. Gains in recent years have accelerated in most component industries with particularly rapid expansions in these three: tortilla, confectionery, and seasoning and dressing.

The BLS estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses.These preliminary estimates are subject to later revision.

Northwest Lending Group