County jobless rate stretches to new high

Jackson County had a 7.6 jobless rate last month, the highest mark since the present system was put in place in 1990, the Oregon Employment Department reported.

A estimated 8,087 workers were unemployed, according to Employment Department figures, more than 1,000 more than in September.

October figures generally reflect the period between the end of summer recreation and travel seasons preceding the period leading up to Christmas and winter recreation.

"There are the compounding effects of layoffs and slowness in a wide variety of sectors, such as housing, construction and retail trade," said regional economist Guy Tauer. "Usually you have seasonal lows in construction, but I don't know if we had a seasonal high this year. There were 400 single-family residence permits issued through September and if you go back to 2004 or 2005, there were as many as 1,600."

Construction dropped 80 jobs in October, while manufacturing shed 110 positions, primarily because of weakness in the building materials industry. Leisure and hospitality saw a decline of 340 jobs with 240 of those in accommodations and food services. Financial activities, transportation, warehousing and utilities as well as information employment all trimmed employment.

On the bright side, the medical community added new positions and the federal government brought in more jobs as well.

— Greg Stiles

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