Job losses undercounted

Oregon lost 148,600 jobs from the recession, a higher number than originally estimated.

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Oregon lost 148,600 jobs from the recession, or 9% of payroll employment — a higher figure than the 120,000 originally estimated.

But the state’s unemployment rate managed to flatten out at 10.7% in January, and economists are seeing some signs that hiring is picking up again.

The jobless rate is unlikely to fall much anytime soon though, they say. That’s partly because of Oregon’s high “underemployment” rate, which at 20.7 percent in 2009 was third in the nation behind only Michigan and California.

The underemployment rate counts the unemployed and also includes people who work part time yet would like to be working full time. Instead of hiring new employees as the economy improves, companies will likely move these workers to full time, without denting the jobless rate.

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