Rural job-seekers giving up

Joblessness has dropped in rural counties because many people have stopped looking.

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Unemployment claims in rural areas have improved recently, not because of job creation, but because many people have given up looking for work.

“They’re getting tired of looking and not getting anywhere,” said Susan Scheufele, program manager at the Josephine County Food Bank in Grants Pass, where more people receive help as unemployment exceeds 14 percent. “As far as I know, there has not been a substantial increase in jobs in Josephine County.”

County figures released Monday surprised economists, partly because the Portland metro area’s unemployment level rose in September – exceeding the statewide average — and many rural rates dropped. The recession may be ending in a technical sense, but as state government chief economist Tom Potiowsky says, “no one can say the recovery has begun.”

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