Central Oregon

Central Oregon counties see jobless rates fall

Deschutes' April level lowest in 4 1/2 years

SALEM, Ore. - For the second straight month, all three Central Oregon counties saw a decline in their seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April, dropping Deschutes County to its lowest level in 4 1/2 years, the state Employment Department reported Monday.

Crook (12.8%) and Jefferson (11.1%) counties each saw a "robust" drop in their seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in April, the agency said.

Although Deschutes County experienced a more modest reduction in its unemployment rate, the April rate (10.1%) was the lowest in the county since October of 2008 (10%).

The statewide unemployment rate (8%) and national rate (7.5%) each experienced a slight drop in April from the revised March rate.

Crook County: In April, Crook County experienced a significant drop in its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate. The April rate was 12.8 percent compared to the revised rate for March of 13.2 percent. The unemployment rate in April 2012 was 13.4 percent. The county's new jobless rate is still the highest in Oregon.

The county added 120 jobs in April, which is greater than the 90 jobs that would typically be expected.

Crook County continued to experience strong growth in total nonfarm employment over the month. Total private employment rose by 80 jobs, while government employment gained 40 jobs from March. Leisure and hospitality (+40) experienced the largest employment gains over the month. Construction (+20) continues to gain jobs month-over-month.

Employment increased by 170 jobs in Crook County between April 2012 and April 2013. The vast majority of these gains came in the private-sector with Manufacturing (+40); transportation, warehousing, and utilizes (+40); and private educational and health services (+30) showing the strongest growth. The largest over-the-year losses were seen in wholesale trade (-40) and state government (-20).

Deschutes County (Bend MSA): The April seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 10.1 percent was an improvement from the revised March rate of 10.3 percent. From April 2012 to April 2013 the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has dropped a full percentage point, down from 11.1 percent.

Preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the Bend metropolitan area show an increase of 960 jobs in April. That's a larger gain than the 290 jobs that is the seasonal norm during this time of year. BLS analysts estimate that private-sector employment increased by 980 jobs in April, while government shed 20 jobs.

Between April 2012 and April 2013, estimates show that Deschutes County gained 2,570 jobs. Nearly 85 percent of the year-over-year job gains came from private employers. The largest year-over-year increases were seen in leisure and hospitality (+630); private educational and health services (+580); mining, logging, and construction (+430); and durable goods manufacturing (+230). Financial activities (-80) continues to experience year-over-year losses in employment.

These preliminary estimates are subject to revision as more information becomes available from employers.

Jefferson County: The April seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Jefferson County was 11.1 percent, which was a strong improvement from the revised March rate (11.6%). Over-the-year, Jefferson County's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has dropped significantly from the April 2012 rate of 12.2 percent.

Jefferson County experienced better than expected gains in total nonfarm employment in April. The county added 120 jobs, when a gain of 100 jobs would typically be expected. Private-sector gained 50 jobs, while government gained 70 jobs from March. All government jobs gains were concentrated in Indian tribal government. Professional and business services experienced the largest gains over-the-month (+20) of all private industries.

Between April 2012 and April 2013 Jefferson County gained 10 jobs. The private-sector gained 40 jobs over the year, while government saw a reduction of 30. The largest over-the-year job gains were in manufacturing (+40) and private educational and health services (+20). Financial activities and construction each shed 20 jobs from last April.

Quarterly Benchmarked Employment Estimates: The Oregon Employment Department is publishing a new data series with the release of May nonfarm payroll employment estimates. This improved series, the Oregon Employment Estimates, is revised quarterly by using employment counts from employer tax records. All department publications, such as news releases, monthly Oregon Labor Trends and local labor trends, will use the new data series unless noted otherwise.

The department will continue to make the original nonfarm payroll employment data series available. This data is produced by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and is revised annually.

Analysts at the Oregon Employment Department will use employer tax records as soon as they become available each quarter to adjust county employment estimates. This revision resets the monthly estimates to the correct level and should reduce the drift that can occur with estimates that are revised annually.

Both the Oregon Employment Estimates and the BLS estimates are available on the department's web site, QualityInfo.org.

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