BEND, Ore. -

The New Year started much as 2013 ended, with Central Oregon unemployment rates on the decline and seasonally adjusted employment on the rise, the Oregon Employment Department reported Monday.

Although Crook County still maintains one of the highest levels of unemployment, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped 2.7 percentage points over the past year, to 10.9 percent in January, said Regional Economist Damon Runberg

The Bend MSA (Deschutes County) continues to experience sustained economic growth, Runberg said.

The county posted a significant drop in its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, down to 8.6 percent. Over the past year, Deschutes County gained jobs at a faster pace than any other metropolitan area in Oregon, the state economist noted.

Jefferson County’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.7 percent, the lowest rate since summer 2008. The national unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in January, while the state rate was at 7 percent.

Crook County: Crook County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.9 percent in January, down from 11.2 percent in December. Harney County (11.6%) in Eastern Oregon was the only county to post a higher unemployment rate than Crook County. However, Crook County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is down significantly from the January 2013 rate of 13.6 percent.

The county lost 150 jobs in January, which is expected this time of year.

Seasonal job losses continued in industries, such as leisure and hospitality (-40); construction (-30); and retail trade (-20).

Over-the-year private-sector gains slowed, up only 80 jobs from last January. These gains were concentrated in manufacturing (+30) and professional and business services (+30). Local government

accounted for a loss of 30 jobs from last January.

 

Deschutes County (Bend MSA): Deschutes County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent in January. The rate was 8.9 percent in December and 10.4 percent in January 2013. Deschutes County’s unemployment rate is improving faster than any other metropolitan area in Oregon.

 

Preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the Bend metropolitan area show a decrease of 1,510 jobs in January. This represents a seasonally adjusted gain of 160 jobs. Monthly job losses continue to be concentrated in seasonal industries that typically see employment losses this time of year, such as retail trade (-500); professional and business services (-330); and mining, logging, and construction (-210).

 

Deschutes County’s 63,500 nonfarm jobs in January represent a 4 percent increase from last January (+2,450). The private-sector accounted for the vast majority of job gains over the past year. Large increases were seen in professional and business services (+690); educational and health services (+370); and mining, logging, and construction (+300). Local government was the only industry to post significant job losses from January 2013 (-120).

 

Jefferson County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased in January to 9.7 percent, down from 9.9 percent in December. Over-the-year, Jefferson County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from the January 2013 rate of 12 percent.

 

Jefferson County lost 90 jobs in January when a loss of 190 jobs would typically be expected this time of year. January’s job losses were concentrated in leisure and hospitality (-40) and manufacturing (-30). In the public-sector, Indian tribal employment shed 30 jobs in January.

 

Over the past year, employment is up by 370 in Jefferson County. Manufacturing continues to lead job growth, up 130 from last year. Strong over-the-year gains were also seen in Indian tribal (+100), retail trade (+40) and educational and health services (+40).

 

Annual Benchmark Revisions: 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 2013, original survey-based estimates were revised with universe employment counts from the Unemployment Insurance tax system.