MEDFORD, Ore. — The number of jobs is slowing increasing in Oregon, but the quality of those jobs, not so much. A new report shows Oregon gained momentum this fall adding more than five thousand jobs last month alone, but still almost 200,000 people remain unemployed, the same number of workers being considered underemployed.
This is the first time those two numbers have ever matched up. In this case, economists are considering the term “underemployed” as people who are working part-time and want to be working full-time.
Both unemployment and underemployment numbers are decreasing though. Unemployment recently hit a five year low, taking it back to where it stood before the recession hit. Underemployment is shrinking at a slower rate, but economists say its lowering too as the economy recovers, but it could recover faster if people were working to their fullest potential.
“If people are working less hours than they want to be working, pay checks are smaller of course, and they aren’t paying as many taxes as you would if you were working more, earning more money, paying more taxes, things like that. So it’s one of the number economists look at when we look at Oregon’s overall economic situation, said Oregon Unemployment Department economist, Guy Tauer.
Economists say the future is looking bright though. They expect the economy to continue to improve as housing prices come back and the stock market strengthens.