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High Desert Feb. jobless rates drop a bit

Published On: Mar 24 2014 02:01:03 PM CDT

BEND, Ore. -

Central Oregon's job growth stalled in February, with all three counties posting seasonally adjusted job losses -- and yet, the unemployment rates also dropped a bit, the state Employment Department reported Monday.

As a result, improvements to the unemployment rate slowed in February, with slower hiring than typically expected this time of year. However, unemployment levels remain significantly lower than this time last year, said Regional Economist Damon Runberg.

Crook County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.7 percent in February, Deschutes County’s rate was 8.4 percent, and Jefferson County’s was 9.6 percent.

Central Oregon followed the trends of the larger regional and national economies in February. The national unemployment rate showed little change at 6.7 percent in February, while the state rate showed a modest decline to 6.9 percent.

Crook County: Crook County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.7 percent in February, a modest decline from 10.9 percent in January. Unemployment levels are down significantly from February 2013, when the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 13.4 percent.

The county lost 30 jobs in February, which represents a seasonally adjusted loss. The county would typically gain 10 jobs in the month.

There was very little change in Crook County’s employment situation in February. There were small job losses in manufacturing; wholesale trade; retail trade; and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-10). The only industry to see job gains from January was construction (+10).

Employment is still up from the year ago level (+100), with all gains coming from private-sector employers. Professional and business services (+40) and manufacturing (+20) each posted significant employment gains over the past year. No industry experienced large job losses from February 2013.

Deschutes County (Bend MSA): Deschutes County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 8.4 percent in February. The rate was 8.6 percent in January and 10.4 percent in February 2013.

Preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Bend metropolitan area show a decrease of 230 jobs in February; a gain of 190 jobs would typically expected this time of year.

The losses were concentrated in mining, logging, and construction (-170) and retail trade (-100). Strong hiring was seen in local government, particularly local education (+80).

Deschutes County’s over-the-year job growth slowed in February. There were 1,890 more jobs in February 2014 compared to a year earlier (+3.1%).

Industries with significantly larger employment from this time last year include, professional and business services (+610); educational and health services (+370); and retail trade (+340).

Only a handful of industries posted lower levels of employment from a year ago. Manufacturing shed 50 jobs over the year, while leisure and hospitality was down 40 and the federal government lost 30 jobs.

Jefferson County: There was very little change in Jefferson County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February. The rate was 9.6 percent, down from 9.7 percent in January. Over the year, Jefferson County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from the February 2013 rate of 11.9 percent.

Jefferson County lost 20 jobs in February, when a gain of 50 jobs would typically be expected this time of year. There were no significant changes in February, with wholesale trade; retail trade; and transportation, warehousing, and utilities each losing 10 jobs from January.

Over the past year, employment is up by 280 jobs in Jefferson County. Growth from this time last year is concentrated in manufacturing (+140) and government (+110). There were no significant job losses from February 2013.

These estimates will be revised as new data from businesses becomes available. The next Central Oregon Employment Situation with preliminary data for March 2014 will be released on Monday, April 21st.

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