News in brief

Oregon unemployment rates soar, Multnomah county deputies banned from the Internet.

Unemployment in Oregon reaches 7.3 percent The global financial crisis has contributed to the loss of 14,100 jobs in Oregon since September. The state’s unemployment rate jumped nine-tenths of a percent in the last month, and now exceeds the national average of 6.5 percent.

An economist for the state of Oregon, Tom Potiowsky, told the Oregonian that although this drop was not projected, he now expects unemployment to continue rising.

“The speed at which this economy is going down is just very surprising,” Potiowsky said in the Oregonian article.

Local entrepreneurs, including the owner of McGrath’s Fish House and company spokesperson for Fred Meyer, attribute the rise in unemployment to a noticeable decrease in consumer spending.

Although neither company has laid off workers in the past few months, both attested to decreasing the hours available for employees.

According to the Oregonian, 24,200 jobs have been lost since October 2007.

The construction sector has been hit the hardest among Oregon industries, dropping 11 percent of its workers since October 2007. This local trend can be linked to the crumbling housing market that caused three of the largest metro-area home building companies to file for bankruptcy.

Natural resources and mining in Oregon have seen similar job losses since 2007.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Oregon’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation, rivaling California at 7.7 percent. Oregon leads regionally as well, topping Idaho’s 5 percent and Washington state’s 5.8 percent.

Historically, the Oregon has experienced higher unemployment than the national average.

Multnomah county sheriff cuts off Internet use pending a pornography investigationMultnomah County Sheriff Bob Skipper is blocking Internet use and access of most local jails, after recent allegations accused deputies in local jails of using work computers to look at Internet pornography.

The new policy goes into effect Dec. 1, and will require most jail employees to submit a written request in order to access the Web at work.

Deputies and officers who must utilize the Internet regularly will continue to have unfettered access.

The porn use was discovered though links saved on the hard drive of one of the computers. Apparently three different jail deputies used the computer to look at porn separately.

Internet access may be returned pending an investigation.