Central Oregon jobless rates edge upward in August amid mixed job-growth picture, state economist says

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Unemployment numbers rose slightly in central Oregon last month amid a mixed employment picture, a common theme across Oregon in August, the Oregon Department of Labor said Tuesday.

Central Oregon job gains were mixed in August, with Deschutes County (the Bend-Redmond metropolitan area) topping its year-ago performance while Crook and Jefferson counties declined, interim regional economist Dallas Fridley said.

Fridley said it was the first rise in the region’s unemployment rate since December 2020, but added that such a small rise was not statistically significant and could be explained by the estimate’s margin of error.

Here is his report:

Crook County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 4.9% in August. The unemployment rate is close to the pre-pandemic record low of 4.7% from October 2019 to January 2020.

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Crook County cut 30 nonfarm payroll jobs in August, down to 7,580. Employment levels in Crook County are up 9.8% (+650 jobs) from pre-pandemic levels.

The district created 470 jobs (+6.6%) last year. Crook County’s job growth rate last year was among the fastest of Oregon’s 36 counties. Job gains remain concentrated in construction (+140); information (+120 digits); professional and business services (+80); and Manufacturing (+60). There were no significant job losses in industry.

Deschutes County (Bend-Redmond MSA): The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.6% in August, up from a revised 3.4% in July. The unemployment rate remained near the record low before the pandemic hit when it stood at 3.3% in August.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Deschutes County added 320 jobs in August for a total of 90,620. Education and health services led the private sector, rising 170 jobs to 15,610. Accommodation and catering services shed 110 jobs, rising to 12,320. Mining, logging and construction cut 70 jobs and other services were suspended on August 30. Seasonally adjusted employment exceeded pre-pandemic levels by 980 jobs, or 1.1%.

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Total non-agricultural employment increased by 1.2% (+1,040 jobs) as of August 2021. There continues to be strong gains in the hard-hit accommodation and catering sector, which has added 440 jobs compared to last August. There were also modest increases in the manufacture of durable goods (+240 jobs); and construction (+190). However, a few sectors have shed jobs over the past year, including financial activities (-240 jobs) and information (-110).

Jefferson County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 4.8% in August. The unemployment rate was 4.4% from November 2019 to January 2020 before the first impact of COVID-19.

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Total nonfarm payrolls fell 20 in August, with the government cutting 30 jobs and private industry rising 10. Jefferson County regained all of the jobs it lost during the pandemic (+0.1%).

Job growth is slowing in Jefferson County, with total nonfarm payrolls up 260 jobs (+4.0%) over the past year. Employment gains were concentrated in wood products manufacturing (+80 jobs) and leisure and hospitality (+70 jobs). There have been a handful of modest job losses in the industry over the past year, including a drop of 20 jobs in wholesale.

Next press releases

The Oregon Department of Labor plans to release September county and metro unemployment rates on Tuesday, October 25 and September statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data on Wednesday, October 19.

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