Oregon sent 700,000 fewer unemployment checks in the beginning of 2013 compared to a year ago.
The state signed off on just more than 1 million benefits in the first quarter of the year, down 40.6 percent from first quarter 2012, according to the Oregon Employment Department. Total payments, funded by both federal and state programs, fell by one-third to nearly $310.1 million in Oregon.
The state's jobless rate has dropped one-half percentage point, to 8.4 percent, from February 2012 to February 2013. An estimated 14,000 fewer were unemployed. But 178,800 remain out of work, and tens of thousands more can only find part-time jobs.
Read more at OregonLive.com.