Clatsop County's unemployment rate increased to 5.8 percent in September and remained well below the statewide seasonally unadjusted rate of 7.3 percent, but was above the national seasonally unadjusted rate of 5.8 percent. The county's rate was 5.5 percent in August.

MORE INFO.Unemployment rates for other counties may be found at (www.qualityinfo.org/olmisj/AllRates).

Employment in the county dropped substantially in September, with both the labor force and number of jobs smaller than one year ago.

The increase in September's unemployment rate was unexpected for this time of year, officials said. Total employment, including agriculture, decreased substantially while the size of the labor force decreased, but not as much. The result was an increase in the jobless rate.

The number of unemployed people increased to 1,022 during September, 29 more than the previous month and 89 more people compared with September 2002. In September 2002, the unemployment rate was 5.1 percent.

Total nonfarm payroll employment in Clatsop County decreased by 280 jobs between August and September, reflecting large decreases in employment in the food services sector and other services. The retail trade and construction posted decreases in jobs. These decreases were offset somewhat by increases in local government employment.

Total private sector employment decreased by 570 from August while local government employment increased by 290. September's total nonfarm payroll employment level of 15,000 is still 530 below its level last September of 15,730.

Tillamook County's unemployment rate increased to 5.6 percent in September, slightly above the 5.4 percent in August. The new rate is one percentage point higher than for September of a year ago.

Columbia County's unemployment rate decreased to 10.6 percent in September. It was 10.9 percent in August.

The unemployment rate in Columbia County is roughly twice as high as in Clatsop and Tillamook counties. The number of unemployed people in Columbia County de-creased by 124 between August and September. The number of people in the labor force and total employment, including agricultural employment decreased substantially from August.

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