Clatsop at 6 percentFewer people in Northwest Oregon were unemployed and looking for a job in April than were in March or the previous April, according to the latest North Coast Labor Trends report from the Oregon Employment Department.

Clatsop County's unemployment rate dropped from 7.6 percent in March 2004 to 6.0 percent in April 2004. This year's April numbers are also more promising than the April 2003 rate, which was 8.0 percent.

The pattern is similar in Tillamook County, where April's unemployment rate was 5.4 percent. This is a drop from 6.7 percent in March as well as from the 7.4 percent unemployment rate in April 2003.

In Columbia County, the most recent unemployment rate is 9.6 percent. While this is a high figure compared to state and national averages, it is lower than the county's March unemployment rate, which was 11.4 percent, and its April 2003 figure, which was 11.8 percent.

The situation is looking somewhat brighter in Oregon as well - the state unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in March to 6.9 percent in April. There were 13,400 new jobs on Oregon's non-farm payrolls, which is an increase of 8,600 jobs over what normally happens this time of year.

Nationally, once the expected seasonal fluctuations in employment were accounted for, the unemployment rate remained basically unchanged at 5.6 percent.?

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