PORTLAND -- The Portland metro area s unemployment rate has continued to gradually decline, according to statistics released by the Oregon Employment Department Monday.

The seasonally adjusted rate was 8.7 percent in November, compared with 9.1 percent in October, said Regional Economist Amy Vander Vliet. One year ago, the Portland unemployment rate was 10.3 percent.

Approximately 93,500 area residents were unemployed in November and looking for work, which was 28,300 fewer than Nov. 2010.

November s rate was the lowest in nearly three years. The last time Portland s rate was lower was in December 2008 when it was 8.3 percent and rising. The decline in November s rate was likely due in part to a declining labor force, which shrank by 3,100 people, Vancer Vliet said.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment in the Portland metro area was unchanged over the month.

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