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State jobless rate climbs for 4th month

Oregon's June unemployment rate is the worst since 1986

July 13, 2003, Herald and News---Portland AP--

Unemployment in Oregon rose in June to 8.5 percent, the highest rate in nearly 17 years, as the growth of the labor force outpaced the number of available jobs.

The state's jobless rate has not reached 8.5 percent since June and July, 1986.  It has not gone above that rate since May 1986, when it reached 8.8 percent.

Oregon was well above the national rate of 6.4 percent for June, but both the state and national rates increased at the same level.  Oregon's unemployment in May was 8.2 percent, while the national rate was 6.1 percent.

"It's just proof that Oregon's economy has not stabilized yet," said state employment economist Art Ayre.  "At least we saw a few months of gains.  But we're not out of the woods yet."

The unemployment rate in Oregon has risen for four straight months after a low point of 7.3 percent in February.

In June, however, Oregon's workforce rose by 44,559 to reach more than 1.87 million, it's highest level ever.  Of those, 31,003 people were employed and 13,526 were unemployed.

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