BEND, OR -- Central Oregon unemployment rates continue to drop to historic lows. "They're very low," Regional Economist Damon Runberg tells KBND News.
The Employment Department released April jobless numbers on Tuesday. Runberg says, "We actually finally got the annualized revisions for Deschutes County and we're down to 3.6% in Deschutes County, which, we were already pushing down below historical levels of unemployment for Deschutes County. We just keep going past those historic levels to new lows. So, 3.6% is very low." And, he says that rate could go even lower with more seasonal hiring in the coming months. But, Runberg says, the positive news doesn't stop in Deschutes County, "Also our rural communities have entered the narrative of at or near historic levels of unemployment, as well; even though they're still quite a bit higher. In Crook County, it's 5.7%, which is just a tenth of a percentage point off of what we saw as our lowest level in 2006. Jefferson County matched the lowest rate we've ever seen there going back to 1990, at 5.2%."
Growth came not only from seasonal industries but also in sectors like Financial and Professional & Business Services. "[Deschutes County] added nearly 1900 jobs in the last month," says Runberg. "We typically expect to see about a thousand jobs added this time of year. So, we nearly added twice as many jobs as we typically expect to see in April. Some of that was our seasonal hiring was a little bit weak in the beginning of spring, so this might be just making up for some of the slower seasonal hiring we saw."