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Unemployed React to New Numbers

EUGENE, Ore. — The unemployment rate hasn’t really improved in Lane County, and people who are still looking for work are relying on places like the Lindholm Center and WorkSource Lane–and a positive attitude.

Overall employment trends may be looking up, but Lane County is a different story, with our January unemployment rate coming in at 8.3 percent.

“Normally during a recovery, we’re seeing 5.5 to 6 percent unemployment, so yes, it’s still very difficult for a lot of people to find a job,” said Brian Rooney, Regional Labor Economist.

That’s why resource centers like WorkSource Lane are still busy places to be.

“I can remember going out there and not seeing ‘now hiring’ signs anymore, not seeing the jobs in the newspapers,” said Katrina Hardin.

Hardin has only been out of work for about 10 days, which is one reason for her hopeful interpretation of new national unemployment numbers.

“It’s positive words, and there is hope, and people may roll their eyes at those words, but in the last week that I’ve been here, I’ve already been through one interview and it feels like it’s at my finger tips,” Hardin said.

Optimism seems harder to come by for people who have been at the unemployment game longer than most.

“The recession isn’t over here, it’s a lot tougher than people realize,” said Dennis Delaney.

Delaney’s three-and-a-half-year search has gotten easier since reaching out to St. Vincent de Paul’s job-seeking services, but he says he’s feeling the weight of the remaining 8.3 percent of people still unemployed in Lane County.

“You know, when they say 8.5 percent, they’re not counting people that aren’t on unemployment anymore, they’re not counting the people who have given up, and there’s a lot of them,” Delaney said.

But amongst Delaney’s frustration is the same hope Hardin has for the recovery that experts say is coming.

“It’ll come back. I come here every week, and I’m going to find a job,” Delaney said.

Local economists say this comeback is a much weaker comeback than we’ve seen in past recessions, but people should take these numbers as a positive sign, even if just a small one.

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