BEND, OR -- Central Oregon jobless rates in February were fairly typical for this time of year. Regional Economist Damon Runberg, with Oregon's Employment Department, says January’s small spike appears to have leveled out. "We did see a noticeable impact from the federal government shutdown in January. And, basically, that impact was reversed, as you’d expect, once the shutdown ended. So, this sort of put us back in line with where we thought we should be."
According to Runberg, January and February are usually uneventful months, economically speaking. But the shutdown led to more activity in early 2019, most notably in Deschutes County, which added 550 jobs last month, and Jefferson County, where 100 jobs were added, "Where we saw sort of stronger hiring in Jefferson and Deschutes than we typically expect, is largely a reflection of the federal jobs. So, there were more federal jobs affected in those two counties than there was in Crook." He says Crook County added an expected 50 jobs in February, "So, it sort of lined up perfectly with what we normally see in Crook County. But, with Deschutes and Jefferson, it got a bigger boost from the end of the federal shutdown." And, Runberg tells KBND News, Jefferson County’s economy continues to show overall improvement, "It has seen really sustained, strong job growth now going on 3.5, almost four years. They’re recovered from the recession; they’re in expansion mode and to still be sitting with rates of job growth of 4.2%, year over year, [is] a really phenomenal narrative for a rural community in Oregon, today."
Deschutes County’s jobless rate dropped .3% from January, to 4.5%. The largest gains in the past year were in professional & business services. In Jefferson County, unemployment went from 5.9 to 6%, with big gains in manufacturing. And, Crook County's rate was unchanged at 6.3% in February.