Unemployment in the Salem area rose to 11.1 percent, higher than last year at this time and a half-point higher than the current statewide jobless rate.

According to Worksource Oregon, the seasonally adjusted jobless rate in the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) – which includes Keizer – rose to 11.1 percent from August’s revised rate of 10.7 percent.

It’s 0.1 percent higher than the September 2009 rate for the area, and it’s a half-point higher than the statewide adjusted rate of 10.6 percent for September.

An estimated 19,439 Marion and Polk county residents are unemployed in a labor force of 201,859 for the month.

Total non-farm employment for September was 145,100 – a loss of 3,400 jobs since September 2009, according to Regional Economist Patrick O’Connor. Public sector lost 300, with private non-far employment dropping by 3,100. The health care sector grew by 100 jobs in the past year.

While some 1,100 jobs were added between August and September, O’Connor writes, the area typically gains about 2,000 jobs in the same time period.

“The timing of fall hiring can be unpredictable in Salem,” O’Connor stated. “Much of the seasonal hiring is in food manufacturing. With crops growing slowly, as they are this season, hiring may be moved back several weeks to account for the slow growing season.”
Even one indicator O’Connor had pointed to as positive news – growth in the professional and business services sector, which includes temp agencies – is lagging after showing year-to-year growth. He said the sector was up 100 jobs in September, but is flat for the past 12 months. This sector is one that is a “leading indicator” of the way the overall economy is moving, he stated.

“In recent months, the Salem MSA’s unemployment rate has crept back up and is back up to the levels experienced in 2009,” O’Connor stated. “High unemployment rates are likely to persist through 2010.”

In key sectors:

• Construction lost 100 jobs in September, and is down 700 jobs in the past 12 months.

• Manufacturing is down 200 jobs for the month.

• Retail has dropped by 100 jobs in the past month, and 800 in the past 12 months.

• Public sector: Federal government shed 200 jobs, state government dropped 600 and local government added 1,500.