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State loses nearly 300,000 jobs since mid-March's stay-home order to stop spread of deadly illness.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - An empty parking lot outside Tigard's Washington Square shows the effects of the state's public health shutdown on the economy. Oregon's unemployment rate in April hit 14.2%.Oregon's economy took a massive hit in April because of COVID-19 public health measures to contain the deadly virus.

The state's unemployment rate hit 14.2% last month, the first full month of data with the impact of business shutdowns. Before the novel coronavirus hit, Oregon's unemployment rate was around 3.5%. The leap in the unemployment rate is the largest one-month increase in the 44 years that the state has officially tracked employment rates.

"Today's release shows that 266,600 jobs were lost in the first two months of this pandemic and the unemployment rate has reached 14.2%," said Anna Johnson, senior economic analyst with the Oregon Employment Department. "While these numbers make for shocking historical records, they cannot totally capture the economic trauma so many Oregonians are experiencing at this time."

About 300,420 Oregonians lost their jobs during the shutdown that began in mid-March. Nearly 253,400 jobs were lost in April, following a loss of 13,200 in March.

Leisure and hospitality (hotels and restaurants) took the brunt of the impact of closures, losing more than half of its jobs in one month. Other industries that were hardest hit in April were health care and social assistance (down 26,800 jobs), retail trade (down 22,500), professional and business services (down 19,200), government (down 13,100), other services (down 12,900), construction (down 12,000) and manufacturing (down 11,600).

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