Central Oregon Region Wraps Up the Year with Mixed Employment Results


According to Damon M. Runberg, Central Oregon Regional Economist, Workforce and Economic Research of the Oregon Employment Department Deschutes and Jefferson County both finished the year with strong employment growth, however after recent layoffs in Crook County employment levels are down from this time last year.

This past year Deschutes County posted its strongest employment gains since before the recession in 2006. This job growth spurred an expansion of the local labor force after years of declines. It was also a good year in Jefferson County, which continued to see sustained employment gains. However, job growth in Crook County vanished in 2014 with recent layoffs as employment levels are little changed from this time last year.

Crook County: After recent layoffs in Crook County the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped to 10.5 percent in December from 10.2 percent in November. The rate is down from the year-ago rate of 11.2 percent; however these improvements are not statistically significant.

Total nonfarm employment fell by 200 jobs in December. These losses far exceeded the seasonal decline of 60 jobs typically seen this time of year. December’s losses were concentrated in the wood product manufacturing sector, which shed 100 jobs from November.

Layoffs in Crook County negated the moderate employment growth seen over the past year. The largest losses were seen in wood product manufacturing (-60) and private educational and health services (-50). Even with these declines, private sector employment remains up by 30 jobs from last year due to growth in construction; transportation, warehousing, and utilities; and leisure and hospitality.

Deschutes County (Bend-RedmondMSA): The seasonally adjusted unemployment ratedipped to 7.6 percent in December from 7.8 percent in November. Unemployment levels are down from this time last year when it was 8.7 percent.

The county shed 310 jobs in December, which is less than the expected seasonal decline of 490 jobs this time of year. Seasonal declines accelerated in mining, logging, and construction (-180).

Deschutes County added 3,050 jobs over the past year. Total nonfarm employment expanded by 4.6 percent, which is significantly faster than the statewide growth rate of 2.8 percent. Mining, logging, and construction is the county’s fastest growing industry expanding by nearly 18 percent since last December (+710 jobs). Employment growth continues to be widespread with a variety of industries posting large gains over the past year, including professional and business services (+630); retail trade (+500); educational and health services (+490); and leisure and hospitality (+420).

Jefferson County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in December, a slight decrease from 9.4 percent in November. The rate was 10 percent this time last year, which is not a statistically significant decline.

Jefferson County shed80 jobs in December, nearly in line with the loss of 70 jobs typically expected this time of year.

Total nonfarm employment in Jefferson County expanded by 3.6 percent over the past year, adding 210 jobs. The majority of these employment gains continue to be concentrated in the public sector; however there was moderate growth in manufacturing (+40); retail trade (+30); and leisure and hospitality (+30).

These estimates will be revised as new data from businesses becomes available. The next Central Oregon Employment Situation with preliminary data for January 2015 will be released on Tuesday, March10th.

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