Employment in Central Oregon


September 2017

Employment levels dropped on a seasonally adjusted basis across all three Central Oregon counties in September. Larger than expected declines in the region’s leisure sector is the primary driver behind these seasonally adjusted losses. Most of Central Oregon was inundated with wildfire smoke during the reference period for the September job’s report, significantly impacting local hotels, restaurants and recreation-based businesses.

Crook County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to trend up. The rate was 6.3 percent in September, up from 6.1 percent in August. The unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in September 2016, not a statistically significant decline over the past year.

Crook County added seventy jobs in September. The county typically posts a gain of around 100 jobs this time of year.

The county continues to post healthy job growth over the past year with employment levels up by 200 jobs (+3.3 percent). Employment gains are concentrated in private sector businesses, in particular, transportation, warehousing and utilities; professional and business services and wholesale trade. There were no significant losses over the past year. Public sector employment is largely unchanged from this time last year.

Deschutes County (Bend-Redmond MSA): The unemployment rate was little changed in September rising to 4.3 percent from 4.2 percent in August. The rate was 4.9 percent in September 2016, not a statistically significant improvement over the past year.

Deschutes County posted a loss of 610 jobs in September. These are losses beyond the typical seasonal expectations. Monthly losses were concentrated in leisure and hospitality (-1,150) and retail trade (-130), both industries likely negatively impacted by wildfire smoke during the first half of September.

Deschutes County’s pace of job growth over the past year is beginning to slow. The county added 3,100 jobs from September 2016 (+3.8 percent), a notable reduction from the 5 percent growth the county posted for much of 2017. Job gains over the past year are concentrated in construction, professional and business services, health services, and manufacturing.

Jefferson County: The unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.6 percent in September from 5.4 percent in August. The rate remains down significantly from last year when it was 6.6 percent.
Jefferson County added eighty jobs in September, fewer gains than typically expected this time of year.

Employment levels are up by 140 jobs from this time last year (+2.2%). Job growth is being driven by private sector businesses in manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services. Job losses were largely concentrated in Indian tribal government.

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the October county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, November 21st and the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data on Tuesday, November 14th.


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