CENTRAL OREGON -- Central Oregon has been consistently growing, with record low unemployment across all three counties, but the expansion trend is slowing. Regional Economist Damon Runberg says professional services and tourism industries both saw fewer jobs, with employers hiring at a slower pace. "I might not call it the peak, but we're approaching, or maybe we're at a new peak for this business cycle. That's not to say recession's around the corner, it just means we're no longer seeing that energy, that hiring energy in the economy that we were accustomed to for, Gosh, 8 or 9 years."
Crook and Jefferson counties saw their jobless rates drop a tenth of a point from June to July. Deschutes' rate stayed the same. "Mostly seasonal industries are just hiring, or did hire, at a slower pace this summer than they did last summer. It's just, we're entering a new phase where hiring demand is lower. By the way, for those of you looking for a job, it's going to be increasingly difficult to find, sort of, 'the perfect job' out there."
Deschutes County shed 160 jobs last month, Jefferson County lost 90, but Crook added 30. Runberg says these numbers are fairly typical for this time of year. He says we're not isolated from global goings-on, and uncertainty could be making some employers slower to hire. "We're not talking recession, we're just saying businesses are not seeking to hire to the extent that we're accustomed to, and that's just important for all of us who are workers, laborers in the economy to understand that we're hitting a new phase in the business cycle right now."
For July, Deschutes County's jobless rate remained unchanged, at 4.2%. Crook County came in at 5.6%, and Jefferson County's unemployment was 5.4%.