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Home > State > Executive > Employment Department

Employment Department > Web site

The Employment Building in Salem houses the central offices of the Employment Department. (Oregon State Archives Photo)

The Employment Building in Salem houses the central offices of the Employment Department. (Oregon State Archives Photo)

Present Duties

The mission of the Employment Department is to support business and promote employment. The department does this by providing unemployment insurance benefits to those who are out of work through no fault of their own, matching qualified job seekers to businesses who need their skills, and by providing timely and accurate economic and labor market information.

With the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935, the federal government laid the groundwork for the unemployment insurance program. The State Unemployment Compensation Commission was formed in 1935 and, in January of 1938, the first unemployment check, for $15, was issued to James H. Allen in Ontario.

In 1957, a division was formed to research and collect unemployment and economic data. That Research Division was combined with the State Employment Service and the State Unemployment Compensation Commission to form the Department of Employment in 1959.

In 1971, the Legislature established the Department of Human Resources (DHR), with Employment as one of its divisions. The Employment Division operated within DHR until 1993, when Governor Barbara Roberts signed legislation to form the Employment Department.

Today, the department employs about 1,300 staff statewide. The department partners with the Community College and Workforce Development Department and local training providers to form Oregon’s workforce system, WorkSource Oregon. The department staffs 38 WorkSource Oregon Centers, assisting job seekers and local businesses. In 2013, the Employment Department paid out more than $1 billion in unemployment benefits.


Agency Subdivisions

Information about this agency's divisions, offices, programs, etc.


Contact Information

Mailing Address: 875 Union St. NE, Salem 97311
Telephone: 503-947-1470; Toll-free: 1-800-237-3710
Fax: 503-947-1472
General Email:
Contact: Kay Erickson, Director
Administrative Rules Coordinator Email: Cristina Koreski
Records Officer Email: Cristina Koreski
Staff Directory from
Location Map: by Yahoo! Maps

Legal and Legislative Information

Statutory Authority: ORS 657.601
Budget Analysis (PDF) - by Legislative Fiscal Office
Audit Reports - select agency from menu

Records, Publications and General Information

Agency History (PDF) - a detailed history of the agency
Records Retention Schedule (PDF) - a list of the public records kept at the agency
State Archives Holdings - a select list of the agency's records available for research at the State Archives
State Library Publications - a link to the Oregon State Library Catalog