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Unemployment rate creeps up in August

Since April, Oregon's unemployment rate has been between 9.3 percent and 9.5 percent

Oregon's unemployment rate is creeping up, hitting 9.6 percent in August.

State employment economist Nick Beleiciks said last week the state's unemployment rate rose only slightly from July's 9.5 percent, a rate that was essentially unchanged since June.

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.

According to the state, about 188,425 Oregonians are looking for work. The state's unemployment claims have dropped about 21 percent since a year ago, to 126,000 people.

Nearly 500 people are exhausting their 26-week state unemployment benefits weekly.

In August, Oregon's payroll employment rose by 800, following a revised loss of 3,300 jobs in July. Most of the major industries performed close to seasonal expectations. The two exceptions were construction, which cut 1,600 jobs, and professional and business services, which added 1,600.

The July numbers were revised downward substantially. Most of the loses were in local and state governments. State government cut 1,800 jobs. Local governments cut 1,300 jobs.