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PORTLAND -- A new state report out this week counts construction jobs as Oregon s fastest-growing major employer. After a very bleak time just a few years ago, the industry is seeing a comeback in residential but mostly in commercial construction.

This year alone, the city has had more hires since the great recession with 6,500 jobs added. This has helped bring Oregon s unemployment down to 7.7 percent. It still lags behind the national average of 7.2 percent.

With so much building going on, finding enough qualified construction workers is now an issue. Many left during the downtime and haven't returned.

It used to be you put a help-wanted ad in the paper and you have ten people apply. Now you're lucky if you get one, said construction worker Jerry Mersereau

The major contribution is construction but all industries are pretty much contributing and now firing on all cylinders. On the Oregon economic recovery, that isn't something I could have said a year or two ago, employment analyst Christian Kaylor said.

Builders are confident this uptick in construction will continue so much so apprentice programs are back to get more workers back on the job.

Other job growth areas around the state include non-high tech manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, natural resources and recreation.

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