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Oregons unemployment rate unchanged in July

At 9.5 percent, the state is still above the national rate

Oregon's unemployment rate in July was 9.5 percent, essentially unchanged since June and still above the national rate of 9.1 percent.

Since April, Oregon's unemployment rate has been between 9.3 percent and 9.5 percent, compared to 9 percent and 9.2 percent for the country, according to WorkSource Oregon, the state employment department.

Employment has increased in some segments of the economy and decreased in others, the department says. As a result, payroll employment has been nearly flat for the past five months. Between February and July, nonfarm payroll employment increased by only 400 jobs, following strong gains totaling 22,800 jobs during the previous four months.

Private sector employment expanded by 7,300 jobs during past four months. Those gains were offset by the loss of 4,900 government jobs, however. The department says 1,500 other service jobs were also lost.

Despite the lingering effects of the bad economy, construction employment has been trending upwards, the department says. Construction was up 2,100 jobs in July, nearly three percent above its July 2010 level.

On the positive side, average earnings of all private-sector payroll employees in Oregon edged up to $21.62 per hour in July, up from $21.53 in June.

The July figure was up 7 cents per hour from the same month last year.