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  • 24 Oct 2014

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State unemployment rate hits new low in October

Oregon’s unemployment rate in October dipped to 7.7 percent, its lowest point for the year.

The rate was 7.8 percent in September and 8.1 percent in August.

At the same time, the state lost about 500 jobs in October after gaining 3,300 jobs in September and 5,600 in August, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In October, 135,298 Oregonians were unemployed, a drop from October 2012 when 157,620 Oregonians were unemployed.

State employment officials said that the trend during the past few months showed a gradually accelerating pace of economic expansion in Oregon, with overall modest employment gains during the past 12 months. Since October 2012, seasonally adjusted payroll employment is up 30,700 jobs or 1.9 percent. The private sector grew fairly rapidly, expanding 33,300 jobs or 2.5 percent. This gain was offset by a loss of 2,600 government jobs.

The biggest gains were in construction (up 6,500 jobs) and in two major industries that each grew by 3.6 percent: professional and business services (up 7,000 jobs) and leisure and hospitality (up 6,200 jobs). The financial activities industry (down 1,100 jobs) was the only major private-sector industry to lose jobs in the past 12 months.

In October, Oregon's labor force participation rate continued to decline, reaching 61.2 percent, a record low. The rate is the measurement of the health of the labor market and tracks the number of employed plus the unemployed as a share of Oregon's working age population.