BEND, OR -- Near-record low unemployment continues around the state and in Central Oregon. Deschutes County added 940 jobs in March, with the jobless rate holding steady at 4.2%. Crook County added 100 jobs, last month, with 6.1% unemployment. And, Jefferson County added 40 jobs, with its unemployment rate holding steady at 5.6%.
Gail Krumenauer, with the Oregon Employment Department, says things are headed in the right direction across the region, "Specifically in Deschutes County, the Bend metropolitan area, over the year growth has been about 4%, which is pretty strong. By comparison, Oregon’s growth rate over the past year has been about 2%. So, really continuing to add a lot of jobs and in March, outpaced seasonal expectations for hiring."
One industry is leading the trend, "Construction is the fastest growing industry in the state and has really been leading job growth over the past couple of years," says Krumenauer. It's far outpacing overall growth, "Construction, right now, is just this superstar industry. Particularly in Bend, growth has been hovering around 4% over the year; construction growth has been 13%. There’s also been construction gains in other places – some in Jefferson County, and construction added the most jobs in Crook County in March, as well."
She tells KBND News construction slowed down so much during the recession, that builders are now playing catch-up, "People kept moving here, even during the recession. Even now, we’re hitting near record in-migration rates and yet that construction has been lagging for years and years. So, it seems that we’re in this period now, when there’s just this pent up demand."