BEND, OR -- Unemployment rates rose in January, for all three Central Oregon counties. Deschutes County's jobless rate went up .3% from December, to 4.7%; it was 4.2% this time last year. Jefferson County rose from 5.5% in December to 5.9%; a year ago, it was 5.7%. And, in Crook County, the rate rose to 6.3% from 5.9% the prior month. It was 6.4% in January 2018.
Regional Economist Damon Runberg tells KBND News, "With this month, we're releasing January, but also, all the revised changes we made for 2018 using really good tax record data." He adds, "We actually do make sure that the numbers are as accurate as possible, and we release more accurate, better data." But, the revisions reveal growth is slowing, "We saw the rate of employment growth slow quite notably from what we had initially estimated, from somewhere around 4, 4.5%, down to about 3%, year over year." He adds, "As of January, employment is only up about 3%, from this time last year; and that still sounds like a lot, and it is a lot, compared to the statewide or the national figures. But, for [Deschutes County], 3% growth, year over year, is quite slow, from what we've seen in the past five years." Deschutes County also added 90 fewer jobs than predicted. And, Runberg says, Jefferson County's growth rate came in at 3.4%, instead of the estimated 5%. "The one really bright spot that came out of these revisions was Crook County, where originally, we had estimated that employment was down in 2018. But, these revisions actually show they added over 2% to their job base."
Runberg says the numbers are mostly impacted by people taking longer to find jobs, not from any mass layoff events.