News | Oregon

Oregon Unemployment Rate Lowest Since August 2008

OPB | March 18, 2014 10:43 a.m. | Updated: March 18, 2014 1:12 p.m.

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New numbers out Tuesday show Oregon’s unemployment rate continued its gradual decline in February, falling to a seasonally adjusted 6.9 percent  That’s the lowest it’s been since August of 2008.

Construction workers pour concrete on the westside bridge deck of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Bridge (file photo).

Construction workers pour concrete on the westside bridge deck of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Bridge (file photo).

Michael Clapp / OPB

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employers in Oregon added 2,900 jobs last month, marking the 8th consecutive monthly gain in seasonally adjusted non-farm payroll employment.  Two thirds of those jobs were in the private sector.

State employment economist Nick Beleiciks says like last year, job growth in 2014 has been strong.

“It’s a much different story than early on in the recovery where we saw job growth, but it was a very weak recovery.  Now we’re seeing the sort of job growth that as economists we’d like to see coming out of a recession,” says Beleichiks.

Still, he says long term unemployment continues to be relatively high.  

Roughly a third of those who are unemployed have been without work for more than 6 months.  And Beleiciks says among those who have found jobs, there’s still roughly 144,000 Oregonians who want full time work, but have been unable to find it.

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