▶️ Employment numbers rise; benefits expected to decrease

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In Oregon, four out of five lost jobs from 2020 were recovered in December’s latest employment numbers.

The current unemployment rate in Oregon is 4.4%, which outdid several analyst’s expectations.

“We have seen a significant decline in the number of unemployed Oregonians every single month since June,” said Gail Krumenauer a State Employment Economist.

So far this year, the state of Oregon has added more than 100,000 jobs back to the economy.

“To get to those really low levels of unemployment that we had right before this recession, those were years eight, nine, and ten of a decade-long economic expansion,” Krumenauer said.

The unprecedented growth of the state’s economy rivals the pre-pandemic conditions.

Hospitality and restaurants added back 4,100 jobs in November alone.

Construction added more than 110,000 jobs last month, which was a record.

Other sectors have not bounced back.

“We’re still seeing weaker employment trends in healthcare and education,” Krumenauer said.

However, with the increase in jobs, comes a decrease in aid.

Senate Bill 1701 and House Bill 2178, both focused on unemployment insurance benefits for part-time workers, expire at the end of the year.

“Starting the week ending January 8th, of 2022, if a person claims a week of benefits they may see a lower amount of unemployment benefits if they’re working part time,” said David Gerstenfeld the Acting Director of the Oregon Employment Department.

Part-time employees will also begin to receive benefits based on their income.

Starting in January, the income limit will be whichever is higher; either one third of the person’s weekly benefit amount, or ten times Oregon’s highest minimum wage,” Gerstenfeld said.

So, as the employment rates trend upward, watch out for the benefit requirements to do the same.

Over the course of the pandemic, about 48,000 people received more than $21 million in benefits, and that does not include the $300 unemployment insurance benefit for part time workers.

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