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PORTLAND-The local economy continued to deteriorate in May. Businesses cut some 800 workers from payrolls, pushing the unemployment rate up two percentage points to 4.5%, according to data released by state employment department Thursday (June 14) for the four county area that includes Clark County in Southwest Washington.

The manufacturing sector continues to add the most people to the unemployment rolls. In May, it let go 1,100 workers. Since May, transportation equipment manufacturers have cut some 3,500 jobs.

On average, the construction industry added more than 2,000 jobs in the first two quarters of the year. So far this year 2001 it has shrunk by 1,000 jobs.

All told, employment in the region at the end of May had risen by a measly 0.3% over the previous 12-month period, the slowest growth rate since November 1991. Just 3,100 jobs were added, bringing total employment to 968,100.

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