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State loses jobs as unemployment stays at 8.7 percent in September

Oregon’s private sector jobs dropped by about 5,500 in September when the state unemployment rate hit 8.7 percent, which was little changed from 8.9 percent in August.

A year ago, the unemployment rate was 9.4 percent. During the first nine months of this year, Oregon’s unemployment rate has hovered around 8.4 percent and 8.9 percent.

In September, 150,378 Oregonians were unemployed, about 25,942 fewer than in September 2011.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday that in addition to the private sector job losses, the state’s public sector lost 2,400 jobs last month.

Since September 2011, however, the state has actually gained 10,100 jobs. During that time, the private sector added an estimated 15,700 jobs while government lost 5,600 jobs.

In September, Oregon’s construction employment fell by 1,400 jobs, well below the typical seasonal gain of 200 jobs. Professional and business services also cut 2,600 jobs in September, which was well below the normal seasonal drop of 200 jobs for the month.

Government employment rose by 4,300 in September, a smaller gain than usual mostly because schools were back in session. The federal government cut 600 jobs in September, while state government dropped by 300 jobs.