Oregon jobless rate falls to 7.7 percent

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PORTLAND — Oregon's unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in October, a five-year low.

The state Employment Department released the numbers Tuesday after a one-month hiatus caused by the federal government's partial shutdown.

State economists said the number was a sign of an economic expansion gradually accelerating in Oregon.

A significant factor is additional construction jobs — up 9. 3 percent year over year. The sector has rebounded sharply after the Great Recession and a slow recovery.

Also contributing to the lower rate is the shrinkage of the state's labor force — down in October by nearly 49,000 from the same month in 2012.

The department says its measure of labor force participation has dropped to 61.2 percent, the lowest since the department started tracking it in 1976.