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State's recent economic expansion has seen the lowest unemployment rates since 1976.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Health care service added jobs in May as the state unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.2 percent.Oregon added about 1,200 jobs in May as the state's unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.2 percent.

State employment officials said Tuesday, June 18, that May's unemployment rate was the lowest in 31 months. April's rate was 4.3 percent.

The state's recent economic expansion has seen the lowest unemployment rates since 1976, when the state began collecting the data. The previous low was reached in January and February 1995, when Oregon's rate touched 4.7 percent.

May's job gains follow April's addition of about 4,000 jobs. Last month, job gains were strongest in health care and social assistance industries, which added 900 jobs. Construction and government each added 600 jobs.

Two industries — private educational service and retail trade — cut about 900 jobs in May, state officials said.


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