SALEM, OR-Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in September was 7.3%, essentially unchanged from August’s rate of 7.4%, according to the latest report from the state Employment Department. The two months above 7% follows four months in the upper half of the 6% range. It could be worse, however; at the end of September 2003, the statewide unemployment rate stood at 8.2%.Nationally, the unemployment rate was unchanged over the month, remaining at 5.4%. In the year earlier period (September 2003), the seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate was 6.1%.The slight decrease in unemployment statewide was caused by a 4,300 person drop in seasonally adjusted payroll, which means Oregon gained fewer jobs than is typical during the month. Oregon typically adds more than 10,000 jobs in September, compared with just 5,900 added this September. The leisure and hospitality industry showed the largest over-the-month employment loss in Oregon, cutting 4,900 jobs in September, significantly more than is typically cut during the month as the tourist season winds down, according to the state. In addition, while the Government sector gained an estimated 9,100 jobs with the beginning of the school year, the number is 2,100 fewer than the sector typically gains in September.

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