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Unemployment rate falls further in state

Oregon’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in February, the first time it has been below 7 percent in more than five years. The last time the state’s unemployment rate was lower was in August 2008, when it registered 6.7 percent.

Oregon’s unemployment rate has been steadily trending downward for more than four years as the economy has recovered from the Great Recession. Recent declines were coupled with moderate employment growth. More than 2,000 jobs were added in January and February.

In February, seasonally-adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2,900 following a revised gain of 2,100 in January. February marked the eighth consecutive monthly gain.

The private sector has expanded even longer: The last private-sector job loss was 20 months ago. Manufacturing added 1,000 jobs in February, a month in which a loss of 100 jobs is considered the normal seasonal pattern.

The sectors with the largest gains were food manufacturing (+400 jobs), computer and electronic product manufacturing (+200) and transportation equipment manufacturing (+200). Food manufacturing continued its steady expansion of the past eight years, hitting a new February record of 25,300 jobs. Gains in recent years have accelerated in most component industries with particularly rapid expansions in these three: tortilla, confectionery and seasoning and dressing.

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