Claims for unemployment benefits continue to drop in Marion and Polk counties.

For the week of May 10, 982 people in Marion County filed for initial unemployment benefits, a decrease from 1,750 the previous week. In Polk County, 237 people filed for unemployment benefits the same week, a drop from 392 the week before.

The numbers, released by the Oregon Employment Department on Thursday, show that unemployment claims in the two counties continue their downward trajectory after rising sharply in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both counties hit a peak during the first week of April following state orders that put clamps on the economy and directed people to stay home.

The local numbers follow statewide trends. Last week, 17,075 Oregonians filed for unemployment, down from 25,082.

While the numbers may signal that the economic damage inflicted by the pandemic is waning, they came during a week of gloomy economic news. On Wednesday, a new forecast laid out the budget hole the state will have to climb out of and the state’s long road to recovery. On Tuesday, figures were released showing that Oregon’s unemployment rate soared to more than 14.2%.

Currently, 11.7% of Marion County’s labor force and 11% of Polk County have filed for unemployment benefits. However, the numbers don’t reflect the scale of joblessness because they include workers who have had their hours reduced but are still employed.

Local unemployment rates will be released next week, which are also expected to high.  

Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.

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