Oregon jobless rate dips slightly

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in March and 8.3 percent in February and 8.2 percent in March. This is Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate since October 2008 when the rate was 7.7 percent.

The February rate was originally reported as 8.4 percent.

The private sector added 2,700 jobs over the month, while the public sector cut 800. Each of the past four months have seen gains, with monthly increases particularly strong in January (up 5,400 jobs) and February (up 6,600).

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment grew by 1,900 in March and by 6,600 in February. It has added an average of 3,800 jobs per month over the past four months.

Two major industries have recently regained record employment levels after suffering steep losses during the 2008-2009 recession.

Professional and business services, on a seasonally adjusted basis, added 400 jobs in March to reach 199,300. This put the industry at a record level, just surpassing its previous peak of 198,900 reached in April 2008.

The other major industry that suffered steep job losses in recent years but has now fully recovered into record territory is accommodation and food services.

On a seasonally adjusted basis it added 1,200 jobs in March to reach 152,700. This was several hundred jobs above its pre-recession peak of 151,500 reached in March 2008.

During the recession, this industry that includes restaurants and hotels lost 11,800 jobs, or nearly 8 percent, and reached its lowest point in December 2009.

Over the past three years the industry’s hiring has accelerated, and just in March reached its highest level ever.

Over the past 12 months leisure and hospitality added 5,400 jobs, or 3.4 percent. Food services and drinking places, a major component sector, added 4,200 in that time.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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