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County jobless rate in line with state unemployment

Jackson County's jobless rate dropped to 7 percent in July, bringing it in line with the statewide average.

Nonetheless, the unemployment rate exceeds rates from last year (6.7 percent), 2000 (5.2 percent) and 1999 (6.7 percent).

Non-farm payroll employment fell by a little more than 1,700 jobs in July with seasonal reductions in education responsible for most of the decreases. The county's payroll employment now lags 440 jobs behind 2001.

Manufacturing employment showed a gain of 50 jobs in the lumber and wood products sector and added 440 in food products. However, there were 60 fewer jobs in durable goods and a decrease of 10 in printing and publishing.

It amounted to a few jobs here and a few there, a general overall cutting back, says employment department economist Guy Tauer. There wasn't a big layoff, just four, five or six businesses that shaved a few jobs here and few there.

There's a possibility that some people speculated that things would turn around a bit faster than they have. Production got ramped up and demand didn't kick in.

With additions and subtractions factored in, manufacturing gained 30 jobs, reaching its highest level since May 2001.

Non-manufacturing employment fell by 1,750 for July, with a decline in both state education (off 400) and local education (off 2,120) accounting for most of the decrease. Construction employment rose by 130 and now exceeds last year's total by 60. July saw a gain of 330 positions in retail trade.