New jobs, jobless rate up in Oregon

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SALEM — Oregon employers created a robust 8,800 jobs in August but the unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.9 percent, according to state figures released Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted job growth numbers are strong, but economists caution that they could change as more data are collected and analyzed. Oregon employers haven’t created 8,800 jobs in one month since November 2005.

August was the sixth consecutive month that payroll employment has grown. Seven of the 10 major private-sector industries posted seasonally adjusted gains of at least 600 jobs, while none showed a loss. Construction employment jumped more than expected, and record-low interest rates led to more work at mortgage brokers.

Some of the private-sector gains were offset by a loss of 400 government jobs.

Altogether, Oregon employers have added a net 23,400 jobs over the past year.

“That’s moderate expansion,” said David Cooke, an economist at the Oregon Employment Department. “It’s not strong expansion, like we’ve seen during many economic recovery phases, but it’s not as weak as many of these numbers had been indicating up through even July.”

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