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Underemployed Rates High in Oregon

MEDFORD, Ore. — Economists are reporting the unemployment rate last year is nearly double the reported amount at 17 percent, but only if people who gave up looking for work, or were part-time workers and wanted more hours, were included.

WorkSource calls that adjusted rate the “Labor Under Utilization” rate, but by definition,  Oregon’s real unemployment rate was at nearly 9 percent in 2012. A regional economist says the under utilization rate still represents the lack of jobs out there.

“It’s a measurement of hardship, and slack in the labor force. So, if you have that many people that are working part-time that were wishing they were working full-time, that just shows business conditions are still a bit slack in Oregon,” said Guy Tauer.

WorkSource says certain sectors are improving in Oregon like hospitality and leisure, healthcare and social assistance, and manufacturing.