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|Sunday, February 01, 2009|
Behind Oregon’s jobless rate
Oregon's unemployment rate is among the highest in the country and is heading toward double digits. If employment does not improve, one out of every 10 Oregonians will be looking for work by the middle of the year. In the state's rural counties, it may get closer to one in six. To be sure, Oregon has been affected by the worldwide recession. A bad economy is sure to bump up unemployment. Business closures, layoffs and downsizing are all going to send a share of the workforce to the unemployment line.
Oregon is different, though. It's different because it has what seems to be a permanently high unemployment rate. In more than half of the past 30 years — through good times and bad — Oregon has ranked in the top 10 states for unemployment. Even through much of the dot-com boom, Oregon's unemployment was among the highest in the country.
Eric Fruits is president and economist with Portland consulting firm Economics International Corp.
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