Benton County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the second month in a row, dropping to 4.7 percent in February 2015 from January’s revised 5.1 percent rate.
It was the county’s lowest jobless rate since July 2008, the the Oregon Employment Department.department reported last week. In the deepest depths of the recession in May 2009, the County's unemployment level peaked at 8.2 percent.
Benton County's civilian labor pool at the end of February was 44,923.Total nonfarm employment increased by 1,610 jobs, or 4.2 percent, compared to a year ago.
Professional and business services was the fastest-growing part of the private sector over the last 12 months, adding 520 jobs. Educational and health services was next, up 300 jobs, followed by trade, transportation and utilities, up 180 jobs, and information, up 90. Industries losing jobs in that time frame include mining, logging and construction, down 90 jobs since February 2014, and manufacturing, down 60.
In the public sector, state government added 420 jobs over the past 12 months and local government added 160, while federal employment is down 20 jobs.
Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped to 5.5 percent in February 2015 from a revised 5.7 percent in January, while Oregon’s average rate fell to 5.8 percent from a revised 6.3 percent.