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C. Oregon sees ‘modest’ job gains in smoky eclipse August


Preliminary estimates show there were modest employment gains in August across Central Oregon, a month remembered for smoky skies and the total solar eclipse, the state’s regional economist said Tuesday.

Despite these seasonally adjusted job gains, the unemployment rate ticked up across the region, Regional Economist Damon Runberg noted. Much of the unemployment rate growth is being driven by new entrants into the local labor market, rather than business layoffs.

Crook County: The unemployment rate rose sharply, to 6.1 percent in August from 5.7 percent in July. The rate is down from this time last year, when it was 6.9 percent; however that decline is not statistically significant.

Crook County added 70 jobs in August, around 40 more jobs than typically expected this time of year.

The pace of job growth over the past year continues to accelerate with nonfarm payroll employment expanding by 4 percent from last August (+240 jobs). Transportation, warehousing, and utilities continue to account for a large share of the job growth over the past year (+80 jobs). Construction and professional and business services also posted strong gains, each adding 50 jobs over the past year.

Deschutes County (Bend-Redmond MSA): The unemployment rate ticked up again in August to 4.2 percent. The unemployment rate is trending up with several months of consistent increases from the record low of 3.5 percent in May. Despite the upward trend in unemployment, the number of employed residents continues to rise. The increase in the unemployment rate is likely due to new entrants into the local labor market.

Nonfarm employment rose by 190 jobs in August, the county employment situation is typically little changed this time of year. The modest seasonally adjusted gains were largely due to hiring in construction (+230 jobs) and manufacturing (+120 jobs). There was a sharp decline in leisure and hospitality (-210 jobs), which is a fairly unusual decline as the tourism industry typically peaks in August.

Deschutes County’s over-the-year job growth continues to outpace all other metro areas in the state (+5.1%), adding 4,080 jobs since August 2016. The fastest growing sector over the past year was construction, which added nearly 800 jobs (+12.3%). Other fast growing sectors include professional and business services (+730 jobs); local government (+610 jobs); and manufacturing (+480 jobs). The only industry to post job losses over the past year was accommodation and food services (-190 jobs).

Jefferson County: The unemployment rate rose to 5.4 percent in August from 5.1 percent in July. There was a sharp drop in the number of employed residents (-64), but only a small gain in the number of unemployed residents (+8). The result was a decline in the labor force likely influenced by retirements or outmigration. Despite the monthly gain in the unemployment rate, the rate remains down from this time last year when it was 6.8 percent.

Jefferson County shed 70 jobs in August, a smaller loss than typically expected in August. Preliminary estimates only show a modest gain in total nonfarm payroll employment during the month of the total solar eclipse.

Over the past year, Jefferson County business establishments posted a gain of 160 jobs (+2.5%) with nearly all gains concentrated in private businesses. Wood product manufacturing continues to be the fastest growing industry sector over the past year, adding 100 jobs. There were also notable gains in leisure and hospitality, with employment levels up 50 jobs compared to last August.

Next Press Releases

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the September county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, October 24 th and the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data on Tuesday, October 17 th .

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