SALEM, Ore. (AP) â¿¿ The unemployment rate in Oregon has dipped below 8 percent for the first time since the nation fell sharply into the Great Recession in the fall of 2008. The Oregon Employment Department said Tuesday the state unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in May and, after a revision, 7.9 percent in April. The department reported Tuesday that job gains have been strong recently in construction as well as in the trade, transportation and utilities sectors. Economists say the job gains help to reduce the unemployment rate. But, they say, the rate also is falling because the percentage of the population in the labor force is dropping. Retiring baby boomers are a significant reason for that.