By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

The month of May was not so merry for job growth.

The Salem area’s jobless rate rose to 10.8 percent, up from 10.4 percent in April. The rates are seasonally adjusted.

It was higher than the statewide seasonally adjusted rate of 10.6 percent. Still, the local unemployment rate is about half a percentage point lower than it was in May 2007.

Statistics are for the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Keizer.

Some 20,250 Marion and Polk county residents were unemployed in a labor force of 177,269. According to Worksource Oregon statistics, some 834 less people were unemployed last month than in May 2009.

From April to May, the private sector added 600 jobs while government added 1,100 jobs, although “much of May’s job growth was the result of unemployment related to the 2010 U.S. Census,” said Patrick O’Connor, a Worksource Oregon regional economist. “They’re going to show up one month and disappear.”

In key sectors:

• Construction added 200 jobs, and the industry has dropped about 500 jobs in the past month.

• Manufacturing added 200 jobs.

• Professional and business services was unchanged, but has grown by 100 positions in the past year. O’Connor said growth in this industry is “a sign the local economy is slowly starting to move in a positive direction.”

• Retail trade added 100 jobs, but the sector has lost 600 jobs.

While O’Connor continues to be encouraged by the growth in professional and business services – which includes temp agencies – and that job loss has slowed, he warns that jobless rates “remain quite high and higher-than-normal unemployment rates will likely persist throughout 2010.”