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State unemployment hits record low at 4.1 percent, about the same as the federal rate

COURTESY OF STATE OF OREGON EMPLOYMENT DEPARTMENT - Clackamas County's unemployment rate is at its lowest since 1976.

Unemployment for both Canby and Molalla jumped a bit from the previous month. The reason appears to be that 71 people entered the work force in Canby and 79 people became unemployed. In Molalla 25 people entered the work force and 29 left their jobs.

Canby's unemployment in June reached 4.0 percent, up from 3.2 percent in May. Molalla's percentage also rose to 3.8, up from 3.2 percent a month ago. Canby's unemployment this year is only slightly higher at 4.0 percent a year ago at 3.9 percent. Molalla, on the other hand is significantly lower than a last year when it was 4.4 percent, said Lynn Wallis, Clackamas County economist.

These percentages are early rates. Final rates are expected in mid-to late August, according to the state's economists.

Clackamas County's June unemployment rate was 4.0 percent, the lowest since 1976 when comparable records began, that too is higher than May's rate, which was 3.5 percent, but still lower than state and federal rates, said Nick Beleicks, state employment economist.

The May rate was about the same as April, and was at 3.6 percent the same time a year ago. It compares with the federal rate of 4.1 percent. Oregon's May unemployment was 4.1 percent, according to an Employment Department release.

The state's non-farm payroll added 1,900 jobs, lower than the revised gain of 3,200 job gains in May. The highest total additions were in leisure and hospitality at 1,800 jobs followed by private educational services at 1,000. Health care and social assistance added 700 jobs, manufacturing hired about 600 and construction added 500 people, the release said.

However several industries reduced workers including retail losing 1,000 jobs, information shedding 800 people, financial activities down 600 and transportation, warehousing and utilities lost 500 jobs.

Although the state's payroll employment continues to expand, its growth rate has moderated. Job gains averaged 1,500 a month over the past three months. In the past year the state added 31,400 jobs for a growth rate of 1.6 percent through June. From 2013 through 2017 job gains grew faster averaging 2.8 percent per year to reach a peak growth rate of 3.7 percent in the middle of 2015, according to the release.

That slowing growth rate could be due to rare tight labor market. It's becoming harder to find and hire workers. For example, the number of part time workers is at the lowest since 2002 when comparable record taking began, the release stated.

The broadest measure of labor underuse dropped to 7.8 percent in June, the lowest reading since 2001. Oregon's unemployed workers, out of work for 27 weeks or more, dropped under 7,000 again, the lowest since 2001 and substantially under the 100,000 long-term unemployed in 2010, during the recession. The number of people entering the labor market without a job hit its lowest level since 2000, when comparable records began.

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