BEND, OR -- Following several years of record expansion, job growth in Deschutes County has finally slowed in the last few months. And Regional Economist Damon Runberg expects the slow-down to continue into 2018, "Our year-over-year job growth is sitting at like 2.8%, which, for a normal economy, sounds like really fast job growth. But, we’re not a normal economy and we’re used to this six or 7%, so it sounds really slow to us. But, to put that into context, it’s been over five years since we’ve seen a rate of growth this slow in our job base in Deschutes County. So, it’s quite a bit slower than we’re used to, but I think this might be a level that’s kind of sustainable going forward." But, he says it more closely matches what's happening at the state and national level.
Runberg says the positive prediction is backed up by a recent survey of online employment ads, which he calls a good indicator of what's to come, "These help wanted ads are showing a continued decline in demand for labor, going forward. That almost always translates for us into fewer jobs. We’re at 2.8% growth right now; I think we’ll drop down to two or 1.5% going forward, for 2018. And, that’s not a bad thing. Really, what’s happening is it’s kind of matching our growth in our labor supply." He adds, "So as people move here and our labor force grows, we’re getting employment numbers that sort of expand at the same rate as our labor supply, so that labor kind of – we’re at this equilibrium there and that might kind of elude to a full employment analogy." In November, Deschutes County saw a jobless rate of just 4.1-percent.