Jackson County jobless rate up just a tick

The county's unemployment rate held steady at just over 11 percent in November after gains in holiday retail hiring were offset by continued job losses in construction and manufacturing.

The Oregon Employment Department reported Tuesday that Jackson County lost 180 jobs last month, pushing the unemployment rate to 11.5 percent, up from 11.3 percent the previous month.

The losses were headed by declines in construction, which shed 220 jobs in November.

Other careers posting higher losses than the previous month included jobs in the financial industry, business services and leisure and hospitality.

Retail was the one bright spot, the employment department reported, because it added 440 jobs.

The bump was spurred by an increase in Christmas shoppers heading to retail stores in November.

Also adding jobs in November was local government education and state education.

The pain from this years economic downturn continues to haunt construction workers. The industry lost nearly 25 percent of its jobs in 2009. The employment department reported construction dropped 1,110 jobs in the past year.

Leisure and hospitality lost 490 jobs in 2009, and education cut 180 jobs over the past year.

The lone bit of job growth in 2009 came from private education services and the health industry, which gained 120 jobs over the past 12 months.

The largest numerical decline occurred in the retail world, which lost 1,670 jobs in 2009.

This Christmas season has seen weaker than normal for holiday hiring among retailers.

Manufacturing losses stand at 870 so far this year. The recent closure of Timber Products in White City dealt a blow to the county's manufacturing sector.

However, Josephine County will benefit after those jobs have been transferred there.

The sale of Panel Products plywood mill to Murphy Co. in Rogue River was a rare bit of good economic news for the county.

Josephine County's unemployment rate currently stands at 13.6 percent, just over 13.4 percent reported in October.

Overall, the state is burdened with an unemployment rate of 10.8 percent.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

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