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BiMart helps impacts on February's unemployment figures in Prineville

Unemployment rose in all central Oregon counties in February ... that's the latest report from the Oregon Employment Department. According to the latest figures, the Crook County employment picture improved by 130 jobs over the previous month and 210 over February, 2000.
   Even with those new jobs, the local unemployment rate of 10.9 for February was up 0.7 percent from January's 10.2 percent. A year ago the figure stood at 10.3 percent.
   Elsewhere in the region, Deschutes unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, up 0.8 percent from January, and Jefferson County was the highest of the tri-county area with 12.4 percent for February.
   Here in Crook County, the opening of BiMart Store added about 50 employees to the work force. Transportation and public utilities accounted for another 30 or so, and construction for nearly two dozen more. The service sector was the only major nonmanufacturing sector to see a decline, dropping ten jobs.
   On the state wide and national levels for the second month of the year, the numbers are not so high. Oregon)s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose five-tenths of a percentage point to reach 4.9 percent. Nationally, the number of unemployed persons (5.9 million) and the unemployment rate stayed about the same in February as the previous month, 4.2 percent.