Oregon’s unemployment rate jumped to 8.1% in November from 7.2% in October, according to the state Employment Department.

The state’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate has surged 2.7 percentage points over the past year to the highest since September 2003. The Oregon rate was more than a full percentage point above the 6.7% national unemployment rate in November.

Oregon lost 6,300 jobs last month, including 2,200 in construction, 1,800 in leisure and hospitality, 1,100 in professional and business services, and 4,200 in the trade, transportation, and utilities sectors. Those losses more than offset gains in financial, information, manufacturing, and government payrolls. 

The state has lost 34,900 jobs since February, and private-sector payrolls have shrunk by 39,400 workers over the past year.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski said the state and federal governments should increase spending on infrastructure to put people back to work.

“With an immediate injection of federal dollars, Oregon can break ground on $150 million in state highway preservation, safety, and bridge projects this summer, and more than $200 million worth of construction at our universities within 100 days,” he said in a statement. “This will create and sustain thousands of jobs.”

He also called on the legislature to pass a partially bond-funded transportation infrastructure package that he proposed last month. Kulongoski wants to increase gasoline taxes and vehicle license fees to raise $500 million a year to support mass transit and road construction. The legislature will take up his bill in January.

“Now more than ever, Oregonians need to know that government — at both the federal and state levels — is on their side, helping them through this tough time in the short term and working to create jobs and economic opportunity for the long term,” Kulongoski said.

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