By Associated Press • 

Jobless report shows growth in Oregon labor force

PORTLAND — Oregon employers have been hiring at a steady pace, and jobseekers in large numbers have gotten the word.

The state Employment Department said Tuesday that so many people have joined, or rejoined, the workforce that the state's unemployment rate has actually risen.

The August unemployment rate was 7.2 percent, up from the 6.9 percent the previous month.

The month saw the addition of about 2,900 jobs to nonfarm payrolls — representing the 12th month out of the last 14 that has seen job growth.

But the labor force rose by a greater number, the department said, about 8,350. All the statistics are seasonally adjusted.

That represents newcomers to Oregon as well as Oregonians joining the workforce, or finally returning to it after a long, slow recovery from the Great Recession, The Oregonian reported.

“If this growth in the labor force is larger than the number of new jobs created, then the unemployment rate will go up, at least in the short term,” the agency said in a summary of the employment numbers.

The agency says Oregon is now 127,000 jobs above the low in the recession and 20,000 jobs short of the pre-recession peak reached in 2007.

The labor force is less than 2 million, while total employment is more than 1.8 million.

Related statistics:

— The percentage of adults in the workforce is near its lowest point in decades, a measure of people discouraged by employment prospects, but it has started to rise. It was 61.4 percent in August, up from 61.2 percent in July.

— The unemployment rate has fallen from 7.8 to 7.2 percent in the past year, but it has barely budged since the start of 2014.

— At the same time, a measure of “under-employment” fell much more steeply, from 16.1 to 13.5 percent, as the number of people stuck in part-time jobs dropped. Still, the measure did edge up from 13.1 percent in July.

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