Oregon Unemployment Rate at 5-Year Low

Nov. 19 -- Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in October, its lowest point this year. Unemployment was at 7.8 percent in September and 8.1 percent in August.

According to the state employment office, Oregon labor market numbers show a gradually accelerating pace of economic expansion. Since October 2012, seasonally adjusted payroll employment is up 30,700 jobs or 1.9 percent. The private sector grew at a more rapid pace, expanding 33,000 jobs or 2.5 percent.

The strongest gains this year have been in construction, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. Financial activities was the only major private-sector industry to lose jobs in the past 12 months, according to state data.

Oregon's seasonally adjusted employment in construction grew by 2,100 in September and then added an additional 800 jobs in October. This measure of employment stood at 76,400 in October, which was a substantial gain from the post-recession low of 67,200 during

several months of 2010. Recent job gains in construction are evidence of a pickup in demand for residential building. Construction employment averaged below 70,000 for each of the past three calendar years.

Oregon's seasonally adjusted labor force participation continue to decline in October, reaching 61.2 percent, which is a new record low since record keeping on the issue began in January 1976. The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 7.7 percent in October was above the national average of 7.3 percent. A rate of 7.8 percent in September was also above the national average at 7.2 percent.

In October 22,322 fewer individuals were unemployed in Oregon compared to October 2012.

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Copyright 2013 - The Observer, La Grande, Ore.

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