BEND, OR -- Central Oregon unemployment rates remained low in March. Regional Economist Damon Runberg tells KBND News, "Seasonal hiring that we saw in March was fairly consistent with what we'd expect. In fact, in Deschutes County - and to a lesser extent, Crook County - both saw actually stronger hiring than we'd expect. But, still, little change to the unemployment rate. In fact, we'd say no statistically significant change to the unemployment rate."
Deschutes County's jobless rate is still historically low at 4%; statistically unchanged from the month before. Jefferson and Crook counties' rates both dipped .02%; Jefferson County hit 5.5% in March, while Crook County landed at 6%.
The largest employment gains came in Healthcare, Professional & Business Services, Financial Activities and Construction. And, Runberg says one sector is doing surprisingly well, "Manufacturing, although it's not the largest as far as raw jobs or a percent in growth, we've seen some really sustained and strong growth in Manufacturing. It's notable just because it's an industry that's been in the decline for a long time. These aren't all brewery jobs. A lot of the growth - at least half the growth is in durable goods, so those are things that we don't consume to eat or drink. It's good to see some growth in manufacturing."
In Central Oregon, Leisure & Hospitality has plateaued. Runberg says, "These are restaurants, hotels; as well as the recreation stuff, so Mt. Bachelor, other sorts of recreation - golf courses, etc. It hasn't been a huge loss in the number of jobs. Our employment in that industry is down about 250 jobs. In fact, it's the only private sector industry that's down in the past year."