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Jackson County jobless rate barely budges

 Posted: 12:10 PM June 23, 2014

Jackson County's May jobless rate looked similar to April, but remained better than a year ago.

Estimates compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed unemployment at 8.7 percent last month, just north of the 8.6 percent figure in April and down from the 9.5 percent mark of May 2013.

Over the past 12 months, employment is down by 410 jobs, or half a percent. According to the BLS, 740 private sector jobs have evaporated during the past year, while government added 330 positions.

"It does look like the region has had a little bit of bounce, but some of it has slowed up," said Tim Duy, an economics professor at the University of Oregon and the editor of the Oregon Economic Index.

"The challenge for Southern Oregon is regaining what has been adding punch, so to speak, for many years, steady in-migration," Duy said. "That appears to have slowed as result of the recession and has not rebounded sufficiently to really generate the kinds of activity providing more positive dynamics we've seen in the past."

Retail took the biggest hit with a decline of 670 positions. Business and professional services fell by 440 jobs, while financial activities shed 100 people. Construction is down 90 paychecks, transportation, warehousing and utilities took a 70-position hit, and information is down 50.

Hospitality grew by 290 positions, while manufacturing is 260 hires ahead of May 2013. Health care and social assistance showed gains of 110 jobs, as did "other services."

— Greg Stiles

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