Employment in Central Oregon Steady: Deschutes County Unemployment Drops

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According to Damon Runberg, economist with State of Oregon Employment Department, Central Oregon continues to post some of the strongest job gains in Oregon. Unemployment levels remained little changed across the region with the exception of Deschutes County, which posted its first unemployment rate drop since February.

Crook County: The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.4 percent in September from the revised rate in August. The rate is down significantly from last year when it was 8.4 percent.

Crook County added 40 jobs in September, which was slightly less than the expected gain of 70 jobs this time of year.Seasonally adjusted employment is only up a modest 15 jobs from the beginning of summer. Local construction firms and leisure and hospitality began to post seasonal declines.

Over-the-year job growth continues at a strong pace (+5%), adding 290 jobs from last year. The losses in wood product manufacturing are being overcome by strong construction hiring over the past year. Many of these construction jobs may be temporary, but they are providing a much needed boost to the rural economy.

Deschutes County (Bend-Redmond MSA): The unemployment rate declined for the first time since February, dropping to 5.1 percent in September from 5.4 percent in August. The rate is down from last year when it was 5.8 percent.However, this is not a statistically significant decline.

Deschutes County added 620 jobs in September. These job gains were concentrated in local school districts as the 2016/17 school year began. With the end of the summer tourism season we began to see declines in the leisure and hospitality sector (-850).

Employment levels are up by over 5,000 from this time last year (+6.6%). Deschutes County continues to add jobs at a faster pace than all other metropolitan areas of Oregon. Industry employment growth continues to be diverse with the largest gains in health care, professional and business services, and construction. The only notable losses over the past year were in durable goods manufacturing (-180) and financial activities (-280).

Jefferson County:The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.1 percent in September from the revised rate in August.The rate was 7.5 percent last September.

Jefferson County added 120 jobs in September, typical gains for this time of year. Job gains were concentrated in local government with the start of the school year.

The county added around 100 jobs from last year. The rate of job growth (+1.6%) is significantly slower than the statewide growth of 3.3 percent over the past year. Health care and retail accounted for the majority of job gains, while there was slight contraction in wood product manufacturing and mining/ logging.

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