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Unemployment rate climbs in Jackson County

 Posted: 12:50 PM August 19, 2013

Jackson County followed the state — rather than the national — employment trend in July and it wasn't good for job seekers.

Figures compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a jobless rate of 9.8 percent, up from 9.5 percent in June and May. Although the number is better than the 10.9 percent rate of July 2012, it appears the gradual improvement experienced since the Great Recession unemployment depths of 13.1 percent of April and May 2009 could be at an end.

While nationwide joblessness eased to 7.4 percent in July from 7.6 percent in June, according the federal figures, Oregon's rate rose to 8 percent from 7.8 percent the previous month.

Total payroll employment in Jackson County fell by 1,570 jobs between June and July, while the civilian labor force declined to 96,919 from 98,652 a year earlier.

Accommodation and food services reported the biggest gain during July, picking up 310 jobs over the month — and 640 in the past year, while leisure and hospitality added 290 during the month and 670 for the year. Those numbers don't reflect jobs that may have been lost when lightning-caused forest fires late in the month created tourism-related layoffs.

Construction saw 20 jobs added during the month and a paltry year-over-year gain of 70. Manufacturing continued its growth, adding 50 jobs over the month and 350 over the year. Retail trade added 290 positions during the month and is up 360 for the year. Professional and business services added 270 for the month, but is only up by 210 over the past 12 months.

Health care and social assistance faltered by 70 jobs, but remains 530 ahead of mid-2012, while transportation, warehousing and utilities dropped 50 positions.

In Josephine County, July's jobless rate was 11.3 percent, following a June reading of 11.2 percent. Josephine County had 12 percent unemployment a year earlier.

— Greg Stiles

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