The unemployment rates in North Coast counties dropped in May, while the state's unemployment rate remained steady once normal seasonal fluctuations in employment are accounted for, according to Oregon Employment Department's "Labor Trends."

In Clatsop County, May's unemployment rate was 5.2 percent. This is a decrease from April's rate of 6.0 percent and the 7.1 percent unemployment rate in May 2003. Clatsop county had the fourth lowest unemployment rate in the state for the month of May, behind Benton, Gilliam and Curry counties. It is also just below the national rate of 5.3 percent.

Tillamook County showed only a slight improvement in employment between April and May - the unemployment rate in April was 5.4 percent, while the rate in May was 5.3 percent. Last May the rate was higher, at 6.5 percent. Nonfarm payrolls added 220 new employees between April and May, most of them in the food manufacturing business.

At 8.7 percent, Columbia County's unemployment rate for May is still higher than the state-wide average, but it is a decrease from the previous month (9.6 percent) and from May of last year (11.1 percent). Nonfarm employers added 80 jobs between April and May, but there still are fewer jobs in the county than last year. However, "Labor Trends" notes that many residents of Columbia County actually work in neighboring counties.

Statewide, the unemployment rate is calculated with consideration given to the cyclical changes in employment throughout the year. Oregon's unemployment rate for May was 6.8 percent - up slightly from 6.7 percent in April but down from 8.6 percent last May. The number of jobs on payrolls increased by 17,000 between April and May; this is 6,000 more jobs than usual for this time of year.

The national unemployment rate of 5.6 percent was constant between April and May, but represents a decrease from a 6.1 percent unemployment rate in May of last year.

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