Slight Improvement Seen in Central Oregon Employment Situation for May 2012

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The seasonally adjusted unemployment rates did not change in Crook or Deschutes County in May 2012. The rate was down slightly in Jefferson County last month. Both Deschutes and Jefferson counties had higher-than-expected job gains in May. Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in May, just 0.2 percentage point higher than the U.S. rate of 8.2 percent.

Crook County: In Crook County, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was 13.5 percent. The rate is essentially unchanged from April’s revised rate of 13.4 percent. One year ago, in May 2011, the rate was 14.8 percent.

The county added 130 jobs in May. Typically the county adds roughly 140 jobs this time of year.

Private-sector industries added 50 jobs in May. The largest over-the-month job gain was reported in leisure and hospitality (+30), followed by transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+20).

Government added 80 jobs in May. The largest public-sector employment gain was in federal government. Federal government hiring typically increases in the spring as federal agencies prepare for summer activities.

In May 2012, there were 130 (2.4%) more jobs in Crook County then there were in May 2011.

Deschutes County (Bend MSA): The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Deschutes County in May was 11.1 percent. The rate did not change between April and May. One year ago, in May 2011, the rate was 12.5 percent.

Between April and May, the county added 1,460 jobs. Typically the county adds about 660 jobs this time of year. The higher-than-expected job gains are likely due to previous months’ small job gains. For example, in April the county typically adds about 1,000 jobs, but last month only 150 jobs were added.

The private sector added 1,320 jobs. The largest over-the-month employment gains were reported in leisure and hospitality (+480), followed by gains in retail trade (+210). No private sector industry lost jobs in May.

Government added 140 jobs in May. Federal government added 30 jobs and local government added 120 jobs. State government reported 10 fewer jobs in May.

Compared to one-year ago in May 2011, Deschutes County had 780 (1.3%) more jobs in May 2012. Private-sector industries had 660 more jobs. Government employment was up 120 jobs over the year.

For many years, monthly employment estimates for Oregon and its metropolitan areas were developed by Oregon Employment Department economists. These economists were also responsible for revising the initial sample-based estimates annually, based on more complete information from Oregon businesses. This revisions process is known as benchmarking.

In March 2011, responsibility for the monthly employment estimates for Oregon and its metropolitan areas shifted to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The estimates developed by BLS are more heavily dependent on the sample of businesses and less reliant on knowledge of local economic events. They are also likely to demonstrate increased month-to-month variability.

BLS staff is also taking over responsibility for the annual benchmarking process. The results of this process will be reflected when revised data for 2010 and 2011 are released in February and March 2012.

Comments or questions should be directed to Graham Slater, Administrator of the Oregon Employment Department’s Workforce and Economic Research Division, at (503) 947-1212.

Jefferson County: In May the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Jefferson County was 12.0 percent. The rate was down 0.2 percentage point from April’s revised rate of 12.2 percent. Jefferson is the only county in Central Oregon to see its rate decrease over the month. One year ago in May 2011, the rate was 13.4 percent.

The county added 170 jobs in May. Typically the county adds about 110 jobs this time of year.

Leisure and hospitality (+50) and manufacturing (+30) led the private-sector industry job gains in May. Overall, the private sector added 100 jobs.

Public sector job gains were in local government (+60) and state government (+10).

Jefferson County had 240 (+4.3%) more jobs in May 2012 than it did in May 2011.

These estimates will be revised as new data from businesses becomes available. The next Central Oregon Employment Situation with preliminary data for June 2012 is scheduled to be released on Monday July 23, 2012.

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