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JULY UNEMPLOYMENT LOWEST IN 32 YEARS

Curry Countys unemployment dropped to 3.9 percent during July, the lowest rate for any July since 1968.

Between 1968 and 2000, the lowest rate reached 4.0 percent in July 1987, said John Anderson, marketing specialist with the Employment Department office in Medford.

The rate in July 1968 was 3.6 percent, matching the rate reported in July of 1966. The second lowest July rate was 3.5 percent in 1960. The lowest rate for the month was 2.7 percent in 1959, Anderson said.

For July 2000, the department reports the county had 330 people without jobs out of a labor force of 8,510.

The 3.9 rate is down from 5.0 percent in June. By comparison, the rate was 4.7 percent in July 1999, according to department officials in Gold Beach.

In neighboring Coos County the rate dropped slightly from 7.1 to 7.0 percent in July. Last year the rate was 8.3 percent.

Coos Countys nonfarm job total dropped by more than 400 in July. The largest reduction occurred in public education because of the summer school break, officials said.

In addition, seasonal reductions in school bussing reducing employment in transportation.

Mixed trends appeared in services, officials said. Lodging places and private health care gained. Reductions occurred in business services, private education and social services.

A small increase occurred in retail trade, primarily in department stores. Job gains also occurred in construction and among federal census workers. Seasonal gains in natural resource management also boosted jobs at the federal level, officials said.

Curry Countys job total fell by 20 in July. Reductions in education were partly offset by gains in trade and services, officials said.

Summer increases in tourist related sectors added most to the tains in trade and services, officials said.

In addition, there were small increases in construction, transportation and federal employment. In the latter, officials said, seasonal gains in forestry offset reductions among census enumerators.

Statewide job gains were indicative of an improving economy, officials said.

Job gains in many industries were stronger than normal for the time of year. These gains are in contrast to modest job gains for the states economy in the first half of the year, department officials in Salem reported.

During the month, total nonfarm payroll employment in the private sector grew by 15,100 jobs, which was 5,000 jobs more than would have been accounted for by normal seasonal factors, officials said.

Despite the gains in employment as indicated by the survey of Oregon businesses, the states unemployment rate remained close to its same level of the past few months, officials said.

Oregons unemployment rate has trended the same as the U.S. unemployment rate; both have been steady within a narrow range throughout the year, officials said.

In July, the states seasonally adjusted rate was 5.0 percent, the same as in May and about the same as the revised June figure of 4.9 percent, officials said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. jobless rate was 4.0 percent in July, and has remained between 3.9 percent and 4.1 percent for the past 10 months.

Oregons raw unemployment rate dropped from 5.0 percent to 4.7 percent during the month. Department officials report 86,000 were unemployed out of a labor force of 1.83 million.

Rates in the state ranged from a high of 16.6 percent in Morrow County, the only county with a double-digit rate, to a low of 2.6 percent in Benton County. Counties with rates lower than Curry were Clatsop, 3.4 percent; Tillamook, 3.8 percent; Union, 3.8 percent; and Wasco, 3.4 percent.

The unadjusted rate for the Unites States was 4.2 percent, unchanged from Junes rate.

Officials report 6 million were without jobs out of a labor force of 142.1 million.

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