Oregon Loses Jobs, Unemployment Rate Flat

Mar 20, 2012

Oregon's unemployment rate remained unchanged last month, according to new numbers from the state Tuesday. Officials say the 8.8 percent  jobless rate is the lowest in Oregon since November 2008. Employment department economist Nick Beleiciks says the non-farm payroll lost 6,400 jobs. But he says despite what he called “surprising” job losses, the employment picture is slowly improving.

Nick Beleiciks: “I think overall economists had been expecting slow job growth in Oregon and, it’s probably coming in a little slower than we had hoped. But, no one was really expecting a strong recovery this year.”

The stable jobless rate has a downside for Oregonians who have been relying on unemployment checks the longest. Officials say federally-backed extended benefits will start to sunset in April. That will cut off 8,300 Oregonians next month. After that, department officials say about 500 Oregonians will lose benefits, each week. The department had notified people in error previously that benefits were going to end in February.

Copyright 2012 Oregon Public Broadcasting.