County unemployment rate better in February

MEDFORD — Jackson County's jobless rate remained above 10 percent in February but moved closer in line with the rest of Oregon.

The county recorded a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 10.9 percent, down from 11.5 percent in January and 11.8 percent in February 2009, state Employment Department figures show.

The statewide seasonally adjusted figure for last month was 10.5 percent.

Jackson County employment rose by 270 jobs during February, but the county has lost 1,770 jobs, a 2.3 percent decline, over the past 12 months. Gains last month in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and education were offset by deterioration in construction, manufacturing and retail trade jobs.

Construction employment tumbled by 80 jobs, leaving the sector with fewer than half the jobs it had during February in 2006 and 2007. Manufacturing employment fell by 40 jobs over the month. Manufacturing has seen a drop of about 25 percent from those peak years. Another sector losing substantial employment in February was retail trade, where 170 jobs disappeared.

On the up side, the leisure and hospitality sector gained 180 positions in February, while educational and health services added 40 jobs and are up by 70 positions from February 2009.

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