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It looks like the number of people out of work in Central Oregon is declining. That's according to the latest jobless numbers for Crook, Jefferson and Deschutes counties. The unemployment rate in Crook County last month was 18.5%; that's actually down from November's jobless rate of 19.3%. Compared to December of 2009, when the rate was 17.8%; Crook County had 340 fewer jobs year over year. Construction work is still the weak sot in Crook County. In Jefferson County, a similar tale: December's number was 14.7%. Unemployment is down from November's 15.7% but will up from one year ago when the rate was 14.3%.

And in Deschutes County, the jobless rate for December was 14.5%; down from November's 15.4%. Year over year it could be a good sign for our economy. In Deschutes County the rate for 2009 in December was 14.6% and last month 14.5%; bucking the trend from the 2 other Central Oregon counties. Worksource Oregon officials say there were gains in private sector jobs last month in leisure, hospitality, education, health services, retail trade, transportation, warehousing and utilities. Those gains were offset by weaknesses still in construction, mining and logging.

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