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County jobless rate 12.8 percent

Jackson County marked its 20th straight month of double-digit unemployment in July with a jobless rate of 12.8 percent.

The rate is slightly higher than June's 12.1 percent but slightly lower than July 2009's rate of 12.9 percent, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

Construction added 100 jobs in July but is down nearly 500 jobs for the year, posting the largest net job loss over 12 months, the employment department said in a press release.

One bright spot in the county's employment picture is retail, which added 150 jobs in July and will post more in August because of the opening of Best Buy in Medford, which employs 100 workers.

Also posting gains were professional and business services with 70 jobs and leisure and hospitality with 100 jobs, an indication that tourism is up after a cold, wet spring, the department said.

Health care and social assistance lost 140 jobs in July, indicating that continued growth in that sector may be waning, the department said.

The county's payroll fell by 2,380 jobs overall, mostly because of normal summer reductions in education, the department said.

— Staff reports