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Oregon Unemployment Continues Fall In February

<p>Ken Teegardin / Flickr</p>

Ken Teegardin / Flickr

Oregon’s unemployment rate continued to drop in February. The latest numbers released today show last month’s rate down half a percentage point from January at 5.8 percent.

State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks says February unemployment is historically low.

“Going back over the last, nearly 40 years, Oregon’s unemployment rate has averaged about 7.3 percent. So, we’re in pretty low territory as far as the unemployment rate goes in Oregon,” he said.

According to Beleiciks, the biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality. He says this growth is most likely in restaurants where people are spending more money due to falling gas prices.

The number of Oregonians facing long-term unemployment also continued to fall to below 35,000 in February. That’s compared with more than 100,000 who were unemployed for 6 months or more during the worst of the recession.

There were also fewer involuntary part-time workers last month. The number of part-timers wanting full-time employment dropped to about 100,000 across the state.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Michelle Leis