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Economist: Jobs on the rebound in C.Oregon

By John Hendricks
Published On: Feb 18 2013 10:23:37 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 19 2013 03:27:51 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's John Hendricks reports on the state of Central Oregon' economy

BEND, Ore. -

Central Oregon's economy is on the rebound after being hit hard by the 2008 housing bubble burst, which spawned economic hardship for people all across the region.

Local economists say the High Desert is making a comeback with new jobs, and new businesses moving into the area.

"When you look over the year from December 2012 back to 2011, we saw a good increase in jobs," state Regional Economist Damon Runberg said recently.

Last year, Central Oregon added about 660 jobs, half of which were in the private sector.

"Construction was one of those areas where we saw some of the stronger growth, which is great for Central Oregon," Runberg said. "That's one of the industries hit the worst by the recession."

According to Runberg, manufacturing has also seen growth, but the one surprising area that saw jobs added: accommodations and food services.

"What was great to see was one of those industries that we've actually exceeded our pre-recession levels of employment," said Runberg. "It's totally been recovered from the recession, and that's a lot of the jobs we see for tourism."

Adding to the future stability of the region: OSU-Cascades' expansion to a four year university. President Ed Ray said in late January the campus has raised $3.3 million of a $4 million private fundraising goal.

"By providing more skilled workers and higher educated workers, then we could definitely attract more higher-paying jobs to the region," Runberg said.

With companies like Facebook, Apple and more recently Erickson Aero Tanker bringing more jobs to Central Oregon, economists say the region's long-suffering economy is headed in the right direction.

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