Medford, Ore. -- State economists are optimistic tonight that Oregon will soon reach employment levels it hasn't seen since before the recession.
Regional Economist Guy Tauer said Oregon lost about 150,000 jobs during the recession, but has already recovered about 70 percent of those jobs. At this rate, he says the Beaver state is on its way to a full recovery.
"As long as the recovery stays on track we're set to regain those jobs by this time next year," Tauer said.
He said Oregon was the seventh hardest hit state by the recession. But now he said we're recovering quicker than the rest of the nation.
"Oregon's job growth rate is currently at 2.7 percent and that's certainly faster than the U.S. as a whole, which is 1.9 percent," Tauer said.
He said the growth is due to Oregon's growing population, new developments, and an aging population with a demand for health care.
Portland is the big contributor to those job growth numbers, but Tauer said some of our local rural counties aren't doing nearly as well.
He said Curry County is still almost 18 percent below their pre-recession peak employment in 2006. And Josephine County is 12 percent below their peak employment before the recession.
"In this end of the state we're participating in the recovery, but the overall trend is certainly lagging behind the Portland area," Tauer said.