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Oregon unemployment stuck at 9.6 percent

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The Latest
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oregon unemployment remained stuck at 9.6% in September as state and local governments cut jobs.

The state's private sector is hiring -- 31,900 workers since September 2010 -- although strong employment growth late last year and early this year has slowed as the economy sputters. But the government sector, suffering from tax revenues diminished by the recession, has shed 7,900 jobs, holding back broader economic recovery. 
The opposing trends popped out of the monthly employment report released Tuesday by Oregon officials. The same split is occurring nationally, as local governments shed unprecedented numbers of jobs.
"I'm afraid this will continue at least through the middle of next year," Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner said. "And folks in the public sector are less prepared to be laid off, so they may be unemployed for a long time." 
Shrinking local-government payrolls are just one drag on a precarious national economy that experts believe could reenter recession, given another shock or two.
The economy weathered hits from surging commodity prices and supply disruptions from Japan's tsunami. But Europe's debt crisis, jittery financial markets and reduced federal spending are retarding recovery and could turn south to derail the economy again.

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