Oregon's unemployment rate increased slightly in June and now stands at 8.5 percent.
The increase is so slight, Oregon's Employment Department calls the rate "essentially unchanged." In fact, state economist Nick Beleiciks says there is some good news tucked in the numbers.
Beleiciks: "It's a nice surprise that we're seeing continued job growth. Really, over the last few years, we've seen a month of good gains followed by a month of losses as we kind of muddled along the bottom. So seeing four months in a row of continued job growth, really that's the first time we've seen that in a year."
Since Oregon's unemployment rate peaked at 11.6 percent three years ago, it has steadily dropped, but at a much slower rate than economists would like to see.
While Oregon's overall unemployment rate is 8.5 percent, peaks and troughs are found around the state. For example, in Southeast Oregon, Harney County's rate is almost 15 percent, while Washington County's rate in the metro area is 6.9 percent.
Copyright 2012 Oregon Public Broadcasting