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Jobless rate tops 13 percent

Unemployment rate now up 5 points over last year
by Megan Doyle March 24, 2009 Herald and News

   Klamath County’s unemployment rate climbed another point from January to February, and is up more than 5 percentage points from a year ago.
   The “seasonally adjusted unemployment rate” was recorded at 13.1 percent for February, the latest month for which statistics are available. That’s up from 12.1 percent in January, and up from 7.7 percent a year ago.
   Lake County ’s adjusted rate was 13 percent, up 2.1 percentage points from January, and up from 7.6 percent a year ago.
   The February unemployment numbers, released Monday, show the continuing effects of the nationwide recession.
   Larry Holzgang, a state regional business development officer, said unemployment is higher in Klamath and Lake counties because they are highly dependent on the housing market.
   The “adjusted rate” eliminates fluctuations caused by traditional seasonal hirings and layoffs, making month-to-month rates more comparable, said Jan Swander, an Oregon Employment Department analyst . National and state unemployment numbers are presented in the same way, she said.
   At other times the February adjusted rate rose above 10 percent — during recessions in the early 1990s and early 2000s.
   Klamath County’s unadjusted rate for February was recorded at 16.7 percent, as high as it’s been since the 1980s, according to the Employment Department. In 1986, which also was at a time when the housing market drastically declined, the county’s unadjusted employment rate reached 16.9 percent.
   This makes eight consecutive months that unemployment increased in both Klamath and Lake counties.
   Swander said that there are job openings — the local unemployment office reported 67 job listings in a variety of positions including food service, medical, bookkeeping and customer service.
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