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Oregon's Jobless Rate Drops to 5.4 %


Oregon's unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent last month. That's the first time the state's jobless numbers have inched below the national rate since 1996.

State economist Nick Beleiciks says this shows just how well Oregon's economy has improved over the last year.

"Earlier in the recovery, the job growth wasn’t as broad based. There were certain industries that were adding jobs. But other industries just weren’t adding. They weren’t growing. Now, all the major sectors are adding jobs. That's paying off. We're seeing far fewer unemployed people really since the start of the recession."

Economists say the mild winter helped weather dependent industries keep people employed.  Lower gas prices benefited Oregon consumers because they had more spending money.

A year ago, Oregon's March unemployment rate was at 7.1 percent.  The national jobless rate for last month is 5.5 percent.

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