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Apr 21,2009
Dismal Central Oregon unemployment rate is worst recorded
by Bend Weekly News Sources

BEND, Ore. -- Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in Central Oregon increased in again in March. Individual county rates ranged from 14.7 percent in Deschutes County – more than double than the rate of one year ago – to 18.5 percent in Crook County. The state rate also rose, from 10.7 percent (as revised) to 12.1 percent.


Deschutes County (Bend MSA): The county’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from a revised rate of 12.4 percent in February to 14.7 percent in March. The rate is more than double the rate of one year ago. It is once again the highest rate since at least 1990, when the seasonally adjusted series begins.

Although 480 jobs were added in March, the typical seasonal job gain is around 710. Thus Deschutes County saw a seasonally adjusted loss of approximately 230 jobs.

Several industries added jobs between February and March. The industry with the largest gain was in professional and business services ( 100), followed by mining, logging and construction and leisure and hospitality ( 80 each). Retail trade also saw a moderate increase in jobs ( 40).

Three industries had slight job losses from last month: manufacturing (-30), educational and health services (-30), and information (-10).

In the public sector, state government added 20 jobs while local government added 200. Of those 200 jobs, 140 were in local education.

In March, Deschutes County posted an over-the-year decline of 3.8 percent in total employment. Although industries such as accommodation and food services ( 2.1%) and educational and health services ( 2.0%) showed year-over-year job gains, losses in other industries offset the gains. The largest losses were in natural resources, mining, and construction (‑16.7%); durable goods manufacturing (-15.3%); and wholesale trade (‑9.4%).

Crook County: The county’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 18.5 percent in March – an increase of 2.7 percentage points from February. One year ago the rate was 10.5 percentage points lower, at 8.0 percent. The current unemployment rate continues the incline that began almost two years ago.

The county lost 20 jobs in March – less than February’s revised loss of 80 jobs. The county typically sees an increase of approximately 60 jobs this time of year.

Three private-sector industries posted small gains in March: leisure and hospitality ( 20), construction ( 10) and professional and business services ( 10). The private industry with the largest job loss in March was manufacturing, specifically wood products manufacturing (‑60). This brings the total manufacturing job loss since the beginning of the year to 120 jobs. The other private industry that lost jobs in March was wholesale trade (-10).

Within the public sector, state government employment held steady, federal lost jobs (-10), and local government added jobs ( 20).

The county recorded 920 fewer jobs this March than in March 2008 – a decline of 13.4 percent. The county has experienced year-over-year employment declines for nearly two years. Industries showing the largest year-over-year declines include wholesale trade (‑49.4%), wood product manufacturing (‑27.5%), and leisure and hospitality (‑7.8%). Two industries reported year-over-year gains: educational and health services and state government ( 5.6% each).

Jefferson County: The county’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 16.2 percent in March, up 2.0 percentage points from February’s revised rate of 14.2 percent. One year ago the rate was 7.6 percentage points lower at 8.6 percent. The unemployment rates in the last several months have been the highest since at least 1990.

Jefferson County added 20 jobs from February to March, when normally there would be approximately 40 jobs added.

Several industries experienced slight employment gains in March: leisure and hospitality ( 20), professional and business services, and educational and health services ( 10 each). The industry with the largest job loss in March was manufacturing (-40). There was a small job loss in financial activities (-10).  Employment in all other private industries was unchanged.

The public sector had very small job gains. State government and Indian tribal government each added 10 jobs.

With the continued decline, the county recorded a 4.7 percent year-over-year job decline in March. The largest losses were in manufacturing (‑29.0%), financial activities (-10.5%), and retail trade (‑5.5%). A few industries had over-the-year gains: construction (10.0%); transportation, warehousing and utilities (9.1%); and wholesale trade (4.5%).
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