Monday, October 4, 2010

In the news: A prison closing, unemployment help expanding

Today's first story is a little bit different from our typical news roundup, but it is employment related and therefore it meets our criteria for inclusion. The reason it caught my eye was the opening sentence: "For the first time in its history, Oregon will shut down an operating prison..." (emphasis added).

As an employment economist, I've crunched numbers, written articles, read (innumerable) articles, and answered questions that have all pointed to the severity of the Great Recession. You'd think this level of exposure to sad news and depressing numbers would leave me desensitized, but still, I am often surprised by the stories I hear. The Oregonian's article was one such moment of surprise, reminding me yet again of the deep, resounding effects of the recession. It's a recession so severe that the state, for the first time in its 150 years, has to close down a prison.

It's a recession that led to many "first times" for people, businesses, and the government. It makes me grateful that the economy has started to grow again, albeit slowly.

On a related note, KDRV reported on a new location in Grants Pass to help people who are unemployed -- it's one of our WorkSource Oregon field offices, opened in conjuction with the Jobs Council. The building is located on NE F Street. "At the new facility people can search for work, spruce up their resume, learn interview skills and take classes, all for free."

In January we re-opened a field office in Forest Grove. I expressed some excitement when I posted a blog on the topic -- excitement I felt because we were expanding our resources to help people. Unfortunately, the post gave at least one reader the impression that I am happy about the number of unemployed people in Oregon. I just wanted to apologize for giving that impression. I'm excited by our opportunities to help people, and happy when we successfully decrease unemployment.

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