(AP) - Oregon's jobless rate has taken a dramatic jump, to 12.1
percent - a rate seen only once before since the years after World
The increase could put Oregon on a pace to have the highest
unemployment rate in the nation when those figures are released on
Friday, state labor economist Art Ayre said Monday.
Michigan currently has the highest rate, at 12 percent. Oregon's
comparable figure from February, 10.7 percent, put it tied for
The state Employment Department said the March jobless figure in
Oregon matches that of November 1982, which was the high point of
the recession of the early 1980s.
The department said Monday the statistics aren't exactly
comparable, but it appears that 12.1 percent is the highest
unemployment rate the state has recorded since the department
first began publishing the statistics in 1947.
The state's jobless rate has risen for 14 months in a row. The
increases averaged a percentage point per month over the last five
Ayre cited large job losses in three major sectors: construction,
manufacturing and trade, transportation and utilities.
He said that Oregon's job force has been growing, which tends to
increase the jobless rate when the economy goes sour.
Looking forward, Ayre said, forecasts suggest that more job losses
are ahead, but the state may have already seen the bulk of the job
losses in the current recession.