Jackson County jobless rate ticks up

Jackson County jobless rate ticks up

The job growth normally seen in Jackson County during early summer failed to materialize this year.

"Typically, this time of year in May and June, we usually see a bigger bump in jobs, adding about 800 in June," said Guy Tauer, a regional economist with the Employment Department. "When we only added 290 it didn't absorb the additional labor force."

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Jackson County in June was 11.4 percent, up from May's 11.1 percent figure, but down from June 2010's 12.7 percent reading. In neighboring Josephine County, the seasonally adjusted rate was 12.5 percent, up from 12.2 percent in May, but much lower than the 14.3 percent rate a year earlier.

The Employment Department doesn't break down where those jobs are lagging, Tauer said. "But construction is obviously a lagging sector."

Job losses in wholesale and retail trade sectors and a reversal in health care and social assistance employment growth had a negative impact. Retail trade dropped 60 positions, and wholesale fell by 30 jobs. Health care and social assistance, after seeing solid increases in recent months, lost 160 employees.

"There's been a month-to-month variation in health care and social assistance," Tauer said. "It's an atypical and surprising trend to see the job number bounce so much and then pull back."

On the growth side, leisure and hospitality picked up 250 positions, including 210 in accommodations and food services. Government units added 170 jobs in June, including 110 at the state level and 40 in local governments. Construction and manufacturing sectors added 130 jobs between May and June.

In the past 12 months, retail trade has gained 460 positions and health care is up 230 employees, as is the leisure and hospitality sector. Professional and business services also reported a 130-person gain. However, construction employment has plummeted by 130 positions, while the information sector is off by 40.

Through June, the private sector has shown 1.2 percent job growth, Tauer said. "The trend is still positive. We're steady as she goes in Jackson County, with not much change over the year. It's been a general improvement from where we were this time last year. People are still worried about the economy going forward and forecasts have been revised down with consumer debt being shaky."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email

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