For the first time since the Great Recession started more than five years ago, Oregon's unemployment rate has dropped below 7%. February's rate was 6.9%, down a tenth of a percent from January, state analysts reported Tuesday. Oregon employers have also added more than 5,000 new jobs in the past two months.
The Oregonian reports people leaving the workforce has been partly responsible for the steady drop in the state's unemployment rate, but the labor participation rate has steadied in the last six months. In other words, it's not just less competition-the job market really is getting better. Even so, Oregon's unemployment rate is still two-tenths of a percent more than the national average.