SALEM — The state’s unemployment rate was slightly down, the Oregon Employment Department reported Tuesday.

According to a press release from OED, May’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.2%, down from 4.3% in April.

The state’s unemployment rate has been between 4% and 4.4% for 31 months, dating back to November 2016. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6% in both April and May.

During this economic expansion, Oregon’s unemployment rate has been lower than at any time since comparable records began in 1976. The previous low was reached in January and February 1995 when Oregon’s rate touched 4.7%.

In addition to the very low level of Oregon’s unemployment rate, it has been lower longer than ever before. Since the late-1970s, during the prior five economic expansions, the unemployment rate would generally drop to a bottom in the cycle and then start moving upward within a few months. In contrast, during the past three years, Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped down close to 4%, remaining near there for 31 consecutive months.

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