BEND, OR -- There weren't many surprises in Central Oregon's unemployment numbers for September. Regional Economist Damon Runberg says Crook and Jefferson Countys' rates remained relatively unchanged, while Deschutes County's rate dropped slightly. "The employment numbers were pretty much what we would expect. The rural counties- for Crook and Jefferson Counties- they really hit on almost the exact seasonal expectations for seasonal norms; having local education bringing teachers back for the beginning of the school year and some subtle drops in tourism and the construction industry."
But, he says Deschutes County saw gains. "Deschutes County was a little bit of an oddball in the bunch. We saw seasonal hiring a bit stronger than we would expect for September; a lot of that has to do with the school districts, themselves, had stronger hiring than in previous years. But, we also saw a handful of industries that usually see a start to the seasonal layoffs, they didn't hit as hard as we typically see." And, Runberg says that's boosting local stats over other areas. "Job growth accelerated again in that over-the-year growth rate; we're now at like 6.6%. And, we don't have the other metro counties yet for September to know where that puts us, but we're easily in the top five of fastest growing metro areas in the country, still. And, we've really maintained this growth for almost two years, straight."
Deschutes County added 620 jobs, last month; unemployment fell from 5.4% in August, to 5.1% in September. Crook County's rate remained 7.4% in September, while Jefferson County's rate held steady at 7.1%.