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Construction Leads to Jobs Growth

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MEDFORD, Ore. — State unemployment is at a five year low according to the latest jobs report released on Tuesday. It now sits at 7.7%.

According to the latest jobs report, the big news here is construction. Construction employment surged almost 10% since last year and the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis says it’s mostly thanks to Medford and Bend.

Portland has been doing well for years now, but Medford and Bend were among the hardest hit by the recession. While commercial construction stayed steady, the housing market only recently started to recover and the Medford Building Department says the market for new houses didn’t begin to grow until this spring.

101 single family housing permits were given out the entire 2010 / 2011 fiscal year. 103 were given out the past four months alone.

“We’re happy to see more residential construction because that’s kind of an indicator of other things. As houses are built and houses are sold and more people move into the area it kind of creates the need for the other things, the offices and the places to work,” said Chris Reising, the Medford Building Safety Director.

Of course, it isn’t all rosy. The average new house has shrunk quite a bit since the recession and most of the new housing work is simple repairs rather than new building.

According to the most recent census data, Medford Housing Employment is growing by just over 10% year-over-year, more than any other industry.