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Claims for unemployment benefits rise in Oregon
10/13/2008
CONTACT:  Craig Spivey
WorkSource Oregon Employment Department
 503-947-1303
 craig.c.spivey@state.or.us

Claims for unemployment insurance benefits were up 46 percent in third quarter of 2008 compared to the third quarter of 2007.  From July to September in 2008, more than 103,000 initial claims for unemployment benefits were filed.  Oregonians filed just under 71,000 initial claims for the same period in 2007.
 
Currently, more than 54,000 Oregonians are receiving unemployment insurance benefits.  In addition, more than 1,000 Oregonians are exhausting their initial 26-week claim each week. 
The Federal government initiated the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program in July.  EUC provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who qualify.  The EUC program ends in March 2009.
 
There are approximately 18,000 Oregonians claiming EUC benefits.  So far more than $45.5 million in EUC benefits have been paid since the beginning of the program.
 
At this time, there are no other unemployment extension programs in place.  Should Oregon experience three consecutive months where the unemployment rate averages 6.5 percent, the state would trigger the Extended Benefits (EB) program.  EB, like EUC, provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who have exhausted their original claim.  The state’s unemployment rate was 6.5 percent in August and 6.4 percent in September.
 
To speed processing of unemployment insurance claims, the Oregon Employment Department offers two ways for individuals to file:  on the Internet, or by telephone.  Individuals may file online at www.WorkingInOregon.org.  To file by telephone, individuals call one the unemployment insurance centers servicing their area:
 
• Portland Metro and NW Oregon:  503-451-2400, or toll free 1-877-877-1781
• Eugene and SW Oregon:  541-686-7800 or toll free 1-877-728-7970
• Central and Eastern Oregon:  541-388-6207 or toll free 1-800-663-7914
 
For the shortest wait times, contact the unemployment insurance centers on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday mornings.
 
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