BEND, Ore. - All three Central Oregon counties saw a drop in their seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for March, with Crook and Jefferson counties seeing greater than normal job growth -- but barely existent job growth in Deschutes County, the state Employment Department reported Tuesday.
"Deschutes (10.4%) and Crook (13.3%) counties each experienced a very modest decrease in their seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from February, while Jefferson County (11.6%) saw a more robust reduction from its earlier rate of 12 percent," the report said.
Meanwhile, the statewide unemployment rate (8.2%) dropped for the first time in several months after being stuck at 8.4 percent. The national rate edged down to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent in February.
Crook County: Crook County's March seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 13.3 percent was slightly lower than the revised rate in February (13.4%). The unemployment rate did see slim improvement from the year-ago rate of 13.5 percent in March 2012.
But it remains the highest jobless rate in the state, as it has for most of the past several years.
The county added 90 jobs in March, which is greater than the 40 jobs that would typically be expected.
Crook County experienced strong growth in total nonfarm employment over the month. Total private employment rose by 60 jobs, while government employment gained 30 jobs from February.
Trade, transportation, and utilizes (+20) experienced the largest employment gains over the month. Construction; manufacturing; leisure and hospitality; and other services all gained 10 jobs from February.
Employment increased by 40 jobs in Crook County between March 2012 and March 2013. All of these year-over-year job gains were in the private sector. Gains were concentrated in manufacturing (+30); leisure and hospitality (+30); private educational and health services (+20); and professional and business services (+20). Losses were seen in wholesale trade (-50) and federal government (-20).
Deschutes County (Bend MSA): The March seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 10.4 percent was only a slight improvement from the rate in February (10.5%). However, the rate has dropped from the year-ago-rate of 11.1 percent in March 2012.
Preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Bend metropolitan area (defined as all of Deschutes County) show an increase of 10 jobs in March. That's a much smaller gain than the increase of 640 jobs that is the seasonal norm during this time of year.
BLS analysts estimate that private-sector employment declined by 30 jobs in March, while government gained 40 jobs.
Between March 2012 and March 2013, estimates show that employment rose by 1,180 jobs, with a gain of 1,190 private-sector jobs and public-sector employment down by 10 jobs.
The largest year-over-year increases were seen in accommodation and food services (+840); private educational and health services (+430); mining, logging, and construction (+300); retail trade (+270); and durable goods manufacturing (+210). The only private industries that saw major job losses year-over-year were financial activities (-180) and information (-70).
These preliminary estimates are subject to revision as more information becomes available from employers.
Jefferson County: The March seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Jefferson County was 11.6 percent, which was an improvement from February (12.0%).
The county has experienced some very encouraging improvement in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, particularly compared to the year-ago rate of 12.6 percent in March 2012.
Jefferson County experienced better than expected gains in total nonfarm employment in March. The county added 80 jobs, when a gain of 20 jobs would typically be expected.
Private sector accounted for the majority of this growth (+60), while government gained 20 jobs from February. Private educational and health services experienced the largest gains from February (+20). Manufacturing; retail trade; transportation, warehousing, and utilities; and leisure and hospitality each gained 10 jobs in the month.
Jefferson County added 40 jobs between March 2012 and March 2013. The private sector gained 120 jobs over the year, while the public sector saw a reduction of 80 jobs. The largest over-the-year job gains were in manufacturing (+60); leisure and hospitality (+40); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+30); and private educational and health services (+30). The largest losses occurred in local government (-90) with a modest year-over-year reduction in retail trade (-20).
These estimates will be revised as new data from businesses becomes available. The next Central Oregon Employment Situation with preliminary data for April 2013 will be released on Monday, May 20th.