Jackson County shows steady job growth

Revised government figures show local construction was a bit stronger in October than previously reported, while health care and social assistance firms were passing out more paychecks, as well.

"Construction has reached its seasonal peak, but it's still one of the fast-growing industries," Oregon Employment Department regional economist Guy Tauer said.

Many projects are curtailed or postponed during cold and wet periods, but despite being down 40 positions from the previous month, construction provided 340 more paychecks in October than the same period a year ago.

Professional and business services, which includes health care and social assistance, tacked on 80 jobs last month and now employs 540 more people than a year earlier.

"If we don't have public information or know of a new business, we don't catch it for a couple of months when we're provided payroll tax data," Tauer said.

Figures compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show steady job growth. There were 702 more people drawing paychecks from Jackson County employers in October than September, and 3,189 more on payrolls than in October 2016. The raw jobless rate declined to 4.5 percent from 5.1 percent a year earlier, while the seasonally adjusted rate was 5.2 percent, down from 5.8 percent a year ago. The labor force continued its upward trend, growing 2.6 percent to 106,106 from 103,440, while employment rose 3.2 percent to 101,358 from 98,169. Non-farm payroll employment grew 2.2 percent, adding 1,870 jobs.

Nationally, economists are keeping an eye on retail hiring.

"It will be interesting to see how November and December play out," Tauer said. "You always hear about e-commerce taking off so much. But 90 percent of people still shop in brick-and-mortar stores. So that bodes well for the Rogue Valley and its retailers."

Retail hiring was up 140 positions over September, and year-over-year employment was up by 290.

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness or www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

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