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Oregon's unemployment rate hits a five-year low

Oregon’s unemployment rate has dropped to 7.7 percent. That's the lowest it’s been in the five years since the start of the Great Recession.

Oregon’s latest jobs report covers two months, catching up from a federal government shutdown that delayed most economic data.

Joblessness in Oregon fell from 8.2 percent in August to 7.7 percent in October.

Oregon’s Labor Economist David Cooke said construction, hospitality and leisure are growing industries, but government jobs are declining.

“We’re seeing residential construction picking up, following a prolonged period of very low activity over the past three calendar years. And then in the government sector it’s just been a long trend of reductions in budgets, and that’s been hitting federal government agencies as well as local government agencies especially," he explained.

Cooke said fewer people in Oregon are looking for work. The 61 percent labor force participation rate is the lowest since the department started tracking these rates in 1976.

The state’s unemployment rate is a half-point higher than the U.S. average.