BEND, OR -- Central Oregon unemployment rates stabilized in October, but as the largest private employer in the area begins to dismiss staff, those numbers could climb.
Regional Economist Damon Runburg doesn't think layoffs at St. Charles Health system will have too much of a negative effect on the overall economy. "The healthcare industry has seen some pretty strong growth over the last year, it's up over 400 jobs from this time last year, and so, I don't think those layoffs are going to completely negate the gains that they've seen over the last year."
According to a recent report by EDCO, St. Charles employs over 4,000 people.
The company announced last month it would lay off at least 30 workers, and another 70 had accepted buy-outs, in an attempt to close a 35-million dollar budget gap.
Runburg says St. Charles' layoffs could lead to more skilled workers on the market. "It could definitely help to slow down the job growth that we've seen in general. We've already seen that happen. A couple of years ago or even close to a year ago, we were seeing levels of job growth over the year around 7%, and we're down to 3.5% now, so really a slowing down of the expansion that we were seeing. It's becoming a more mature expansion."
The layoff process should be complete by the end of 2017.