Oregon's unemployment rate edged down to 8.6 percent in March, essentially unchanged from 8.7 percent the month before. At 8.6 percent, Oregon's unemployment rate is higher than the national average. It stands at 8.2 percent.
But Employment Department Spokesman, Tom Fuller, says Oregon's economy appears to be improving, and fewer and fewer people are claiming unemployment insurance.
Tom Fuller: "What we're seeing is more people are actually going back to work rather than just being discouraged and falling out of the labor force. So that's a good sign that Oregon's economy is slowly improving and more people are actually going back to work."
To put things in perspective, Oregon's 8.6 percent unemployment rate is exactly the same as the jobless rate that we saw at the peak of the recession in the early 2000's.
Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the federal reserve, has said a healthy unemployment rate is about 5.5 to 6 percent.
Copyright 2012 Oregon Public Broadcasting