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Oregon Unemployment Rates Drops Again, But ‘Freeze’ Could Slow Rebound

Oregon Employment Department

Oregon’s unemployment rate fell once again in October. But the shutdown of some businesses due to the coronavirus could put the brakes on the rebound.

In one month, Oregon’s jobless rate fell from 7.9 percent to 6.9 percent. That’s the exact same decrease as the federal unemployment rate over the same time period.

State employment economist Gail Krumenauer said while that’s a big drop from the pandemic peak of 14.9 percent in April, “we are seeing an increase in the number of people who’ve been unemployed for a long time. So, long term unemployment of more than half a year has tripled in the past couple of months, and is now at 54,600 in Oregon.”

Krumenauer said the closure or curtailment of some businesses ordered by Gov. Kate Brown will potentially impact the November unemployment figures, but she says it’s too soon to say how the numbers will shift.

The so-called "freeze" is scheduled to last two weeks in most of the state, but could be extended. It's set to last four weeks in Oregon's most populous county, Multnomah.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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