U.S. jobless rate falls; C. Oregon still stuck in neutral

January figures still among highest rates in state

On the same day the federal government reported a 7.7 percent unemployment rate for February, the lowest since 2008, the state Employment Department reported Friday that Central Oregon continues to have some of the state's highest jobless rates.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for January saw little movement compared to December, the new report said.

Deschutes County saw no change in its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January, while, Crook and Jefferson counties saw a slight increase.

January's statewide unemployment rate (8.4%) and the national rate (7.9%) were essentially unchanged compared to December.

Crook County: Crook County's January seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 13.4 percent -- highest in the state -- was essentially unchanged from the revised rate of 13.3 percent in December. The unemployment rate did improve from the year-ago rate of 14 percent in January 2012.

The county dropped 100 jobs in January, a smaller decline than the loss of 120 jobs typically expected during this time of year.

The private sector lost 80 jobs over the month. Some of the largest losses were seen in Leisure and hospitality (-40); construction (-20); and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (-20). Educational and Health Services (+10) showed the only private-sector gain in January. Government shed 20 jobs over the month.

Public sector job losses were seen in the federal government (-20) and local government (-10), whereas state government gained an additional 10 jobs.

Employment declined by 10 jobs in Crook County between January 2012 and January 2013. The private sector lost 20 jobs over the year. Industries with the largest declines included trade, transportation, and utilities (-70) and leisure and hospitality (-20). Moderate year-over-year gains were seen in professional and business services (+40) and educational and health services (+20).

Deschutes County (Bend MSA): The county's January seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (10.5%) showed no change from the rate in December, but improved by 0.9 percentage points from the year-ago rate of 11.4 percent in January 2012.

Preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Bend metropolitan area show a decline of 1,650 jobs in January. A loss of 1,630 jobs is the seasonal norm during this time of year.

BLS analysts estimate that private-sector employment declined by 1,480 jobs in January, while government lost 170 jobs. Between January 2012 and January 2013, estimates show that employment rose by 1,260 jobs, with a gain of 1,290 private-sector jobs and public-sector employment down by 30 jobs.

The largest year-over-year increases were seen in accommodation and food services (+710); retail trade (+510); educational and health services (+420); and mining, logging, and construction (+210).

These preliminary estimates are subject to revision as more information becomes available from employers. Annual revisions, which will occur in the spring of 2013, may also result in significant changes to Bend's employment estimates.

Jefferson County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Jefferson County saw a modest increase at 12.1 percent in January compared to 11.9 percent in December. However, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate did improve from the year-ago rate of 12.7 percent in January 2012.

Jefferson County lost 70 jobs in January, when a loss of 170 jobs would typically be expected. The private sector lost 70 jobs over the month with no change in government employment. There were no private-sector job gains in January. Losses were concentrated in leisure and hospitality (-30) and trade, transportation, and utilities (-20).

Jefferson County added 80 jobs between January 2012 and January 2013. The private sector gained 100 jobs over-the-year, whereas the public sector saw a reduction of 20 jobs. The largest over-the-year job gains were seen in manufacturing (+50); leisure and hospitality (+40); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+30); and professional business services (+20). The largest losses occurred in retail trade (-30). The only public sector over-the-year employment gains were seen in Indian Tribal (+20) and State Government (+10).

Revised Employment Totals for 2012: Each year, the Oregon Employment Department, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), revises payroll employment numbers for the two prior years. For the monthly data through December 2012, original survey-based estimates were revised with universe employment counts from the Unemployment Insurance tax system.

After the benchmarking process, there was essentially no change to the 2012 annual average total nonfarm payroll employment for the Bend MSA (Deschutes County). However, several industries saw some significant revisions to their initial annual average employment estimates. Upward revisions were applied to educational and health services (+380); retail trade (+200); and professional and business services (+180). Several areas experienced significant downward revisions, particularly the public sector, as employment in State Government was revised down by 670; Local Education (-190); mining, logging, and construction (-146); accommodation and food services (-130); and Local Government excluding Education (-120).

Crook County saw a slight downward revision to its 2012 annual average nonfarm payroll employment (-110).The majority of the downward revisions for the county were concentrated in local education where the average annual employment was revised down by about 200 jobs. Several critical industries saw upward revisions, including manufacturing (+60); transportation and warehousing (+20); wholesale trade (+20); and information (+20).

Similar to the other Central Oregon counties, Jefferson County saw few major revisions to the 2012 employment totals. Overall, annual average nonfarm payroll employment was revised up by about 160 jobs. Leisure and hospitality saw the largest upward revisions with an increase to its annual average employment of about 70 jobs. Local education (+30); wholesale trade (+20); and educational and health services (+20) also saw modest upward revisions to their annual average employment. Modest downward revisions were applied to Indian Tribal (-50) and manufacturing (-20).

These estimates will be revised as new data from businesses becomes available. The next Central Oregon Employment Situation with preliminary data for February 2013 will be released on Monday, March 25th.

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