Even as its jobless rate grows, Jackson County remains among the best small metropolitan areas in which to find employment in the nation, a new survey says.

Even as its jobless rate grows, Jackson County remains among the best small metropolitan areas in which to find employment in the nation, a new study says.

The county ranked No. 39 of 124 small metropolitan markets in the newly released "Best Performing Cities 2008, Where America's Jobs are Created and Sustained" from the Milken Institute in Santa Monica, Calif. That's down from No. 26 last year.

The study results come as the county's jobless rate continues to climb. It was 7.7 percent in August, up from 7 percent in July and up from 5.6 percent in August 2007.

Regional economist Guy Tauer said Employment Department figures show there were more out of work residents in August than in March for the first time since comparable data figures were instituted in 1990.

More people in Jackson County had jobs in August than in July, but the number of jobs grew at a slower pace than the number of workers, Tauer said.

Jobs grew by 740 between July and August, while the number of people in the county's workforce grew by nearly 2,200. That resulted in growth of the unemployment rate.

The Santa Monica study examines job creation over a period of time, wages and the portion high-technology jobs contribute to a market's gross domestic product to come up with an area's ranking.

Among 200 large metropolitan areas, Portland-Vancouver ranked 28th in the nation, Salem 66th and Eugene-Springfield 76th. Bend was the other area ranked among small metropolitan areas; it was third on the list of 124 areas.

Details http://bestcities.milkeninstitute.org/.

— Greg Stiles