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Oregon unemployment news mixed

Rate stays virtually the same but more people working and earnings grow

Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.6 percent in April, falling slightly from 8.6 percent in March with an employment payroll increase of 2,300 jobs.

The Oregon employment rate was above the U.S. rate of 8.5 percent, which was essentially unchanged from 8.6 percent in March.

There was some good news, however.

The state's new employment rate was one percent point below 9.5 percent rate of April 2011, however. Last month, 168,679 Oregonians were unemployed. This is 17,876 fewer individuals than in April 2011, when 186,555 Oregonians were unemployed.

The latest figures indicate that Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has generally been on a declining trend for nearly three years, after reaching a high point of 11.6 percent in May and June 2009. The 8.5 percent rate last month is the lowest it has been since November 2008, when the rate was 8.4 percent.

According to Oregon employment experts, two major industry sectors posted large seasonally adjusted job gains in April. Construction and the professional and business sectors were each up 1,700 jobs over the normal seasonal pattern.

These gains were partially offset by declines in trade, transportation, and utilities, which lost 1,200 jobs, and educational and health services, which lost 1,000 jobs.

Average earnings of all private-sector payroll employees in Oregon shot up to $766.26 per week in April. This was an increase of 4.5 percent from the April 2011 figure of $733.12 and was by far the highest average weekly earnings for this series dating back to its outset in 2007.