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Central Oregon sees strong October hiring; Deschutes County workforce tops pre-pandemic levels

Oregon Employment Dept.

Payroll data reveals stronger job market than initial estimates

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Recent revisions to the employment situation using payroll records through June revealed a much stronger job market for most of Central Oregon than was initially estimated, the Oregon Employment Department's regional economist said Tuesday.

"The highlight was a significant upward revision to Deschutes County, with total nonfarm employment in October now above levels from before the pandemic in October 2019," Runberg wrote in his monthly report. "Meanwhile, levels of unemployment continued their rapid decline across the region, fast approaching levels from before the pandemic."

Here's the full monthly report:

Crook County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped significantly to 6.2% in October, down from 6.6% in September. The unemployment rate is now less than 2 percentage points higher than before the first impacts from COVID-19 in February 2020, when it was 4.4%.

Crook County posted fewer job losses than typically expected in October, resulting in a seasonally adjusted gain of 80 jobs. Recent revisions using payroll records through June of 2021 revealed stronger hiring through the first half of the year than initially estimated. Employment levels in Crook County are up 5.3% from October 2019 (+360 jobs).

There was strong hiring over the past year with gains concentrated in businesses that support the Prineville data centers. Construction rose 140 jobs from last October and information was up 70. There was also a gain of 40 jobs in professional and business services. The only job losses from last year were a modest loss of 20 jobs in transportation, warehousing, and utilities.

Deschutes County (Bend-Redmond MSA): The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped significantly in October to 4.9% from 5.2% in September. The unemployment rate remains higher than before the first impacts from COVID-19 in February 2020 when it was at a record low of 3.3%; however, levels of unemployment are well below the 10-year average of 6.9%.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that Deschutes County added 60 jobs in October. Typically the county posts seasonal losses in October. The result was a relatively strong seasonally adjusted monthly gain of 470 jobs (+0.5%) from September.

Recent revisions to Deschutes County’s employment situation using payroll records through June revealed much stronger job growth through the first half of the year than first estimated. Total nonfarm employment was revised up by over 1,500 jobs. Employment levels in October 2021 exceeded October 2019 levels before the onset of the pandemic by 630 jobs (+0.7%). Put another way, total nonfarm employment has largely recovered from the pandemic shock.

Job gains over the past year were concentrated in the hard hit leisure sector, adding 1,410 jobs from October 2020 (+12.3%). Leisure and hospitality employment is now only 3.5% below 2019 levels after shedding 54% of its jobs during the initial stay-at-home order in spring 2020. There were also large gains in manufacturing (+660 jobs) and construction (+380) over the past year. Job losses were largely concentrated in retail trade (-520 jobs).

Jefferson County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.8% in October, down from 6.2% in September. The unemployment rate is fast approaching levels in February 2020 when it was 4.1% before the first impacts from COVID-19.

Total nonfarm employment rose by 70 jobs in October on a seasonally adjusted basis. Recent revisions revealed that job growth was modestly slower than initially estimated through the first half of 2021. Despite these downward revisions Jefferson County is fast approaching an employment recovery from the pandemic shock with employment in October 2021 only down by 0.5% (-40 jobs) from levels in October 2019.

Job gains over the past year were diverse with strong gains in local government (+100 jobs); retail trade (+60 jobs); leisure and hospitality (+50 jobs); and manufacturing (+50 jobs). The only notable job losses were in private education and health services that shed 30 jobs from October 2020.

Next Press Releases

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

KTVZ news sources



  1. Way to go, Joe! Once again, a Democrat has to fix a wrecked Republican economy! Clinton cleaned up after Bush I, Obama after Bush II, and now Biden after Trump! When will people learn?!? Trickle down economics is the oligarchs ******* on you and telling you it’s raining!!!

    1. Lol. Interesting take. If joes doing such an amazing job why do the majority of Americans think the country is heading in the wrong direction? Dudes rocking a 38% approval rating. It ain’t all those racist republicans bringing down the 🤡’s numbers.

      1. You have to remember that one of the reasons Joe’s numbers are so low among liberals as they believe he isnt being liberal enough. People were expecting UBI and social safety nets. They werent expecting traitors within their own party to hold the president’s agenda hostage and Joe, right or wrong, is gonna get blamed for his inability to get things done.

    2. Are you sure Bob? Here is just one example.

      Pre-pandemic: Sonic Restaurant serving everyone!
      The drive thru, the walk up, the park and eat stalls, door dash, teenagers delivering food on roller-skates.

      Currently (still playing pandemic): Sonic Drive through with Cones or chairs in the park and eat stalls so customers can’t use them, struggling to serve drive thru and door dash, struggling to hire workers.

      Not that Sonic is everyone’s dream job but, are you sure that Joe has fixed anything bob?

      1. Pro-Life has always been a fake title. Pro-Birth is the actual mission. Most couldn’t care less about what happens to the unwanted, neglected child after birth.

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