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Unemployment stays at 8.6 percent

Oregon lost about 2,400 jobs in October, as the state unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.6 percent.

State employment economists said Wednesday that the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged from September’s 8.7 percent. A year ago, the unemployment rate was 9.3 percent.

In October, 159,439 Oregonians were unemployed. The state’s unemployment rate has hovered at about 8.4 percent to 8.9 percent for the past 10 months.

However, state Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks says the state could be poised for a good holiday hiring season.

Economists announcing the unemployment rate in Salem said the state’s nonfarm payroll fell by 2,400 jobs last month. In September, the state lost 800 jobs, an adjustment from the original loss of 7,900 jobs that was reported in October.

During the past year, the state has actually gained about 15,300 jobs, with the private sector adding an estimated 17,500 jobs and government cutting about 2,200 jobs.

According to economists, the construction industry cut 900 jobs in October, about 500 more than the typical seasonal loss of 1,400 jobs for October. Since October 2011, the industry is down 500 jobs.

Private sector educational and health services added 2,700 jobs in October. Government employment rose by 17,700 in October, mostly due to staffing at K-12 schools and community colleges.