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State economy still dragging

October unemployment rate remains above national average

Oregon's economy continued to stagnate in October, with the unemployment rate virtually the same as September, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.5 percent last month, essentially unchanged from 9.6 percent the month before, according to figures released by the department on Wednesday.

Oregon's October unemployment rate is higher than the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, which was 9.0 percent in October and 9.1 percent in September. The department said the difference is not statistically significant, however.

According to the department, Oregon's seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 800 in October. The gains were led by 2,300 additional professional and business service jobs, 1,400 government jobs, and 1,300 trade, transportation and utilities jobs. These gains were offset, however, by the lost of 2,300 manufacturing jobs, 1,300 leisure and hospitality jobs, and 900 construction jobs.

Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has been below 10 percent since March, the department says, when the rate was 9.9 percent. The recent low point for Oregon's rate was in May, when it reached 9.3 percent. Prior to May, the rate generally had been declining since reaching a recent high of 11.6 percent in both May and June 2009.

Average earnings of all private-sector payroll employees in Oregon rose to $21.90 per hour in October, up from $21.68 in September. The October figure was up 12 cents per hour, or 0.6 percent, from October 2010.

In October, 177,350 Oregonians were unemployed. This is 20,761 fewer than in October 2010, when 198,111 Oregonians were unemployed.