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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Unemployment Rate Hits Lowest Level Since 2008

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Oregon's unemployment rate is at its lowest in more than five years according to numbers released by the Oregon Employment Department Tuesday.

Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent in November. That's down a full percentage point from one year ago, and is the lowest monthly rate since September 2008.

But state employment economist Nick Beleiciks says the number of people looking for work is still higher than before the economic crash.

"Employers are adding jobs as fast as we might expect them to," he says. "So there's enough job growth going on, but there's still a lot of competition for those jobs because there's still a lot of unemployed people."

Beleiciks says the strongest job gains in Oregon continue to be in retail and construction.