Economy in Central Oregon

By Jake Procino  | Workforce Analyst/Economist, East Cascades | Oregon Employment Department

Over the last 12 months ending in January, Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment grew 3.7%, adding 70,800 jobs. All central Oregon counties have fully recovered from job losses in 2020 and are in expansionary growth passing their pre-pandemic peaks. All three central Oregon counties’ nonfarm payroll employment grew at healthy rates. Crook’s grew at 3.5% (250 jobs); Deschutes’ at 3.1% (2,730); and Jefferson’s at 4.0% (260).

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Oregon has held steady the last four months at 4.8%. Oregon’s unemployment rate has risen a percentage point in the past year despite the U.S.’s unemployment rate continuing to remain historically low at 3.4%. Oregon still remains below 10- and 20-year unemployment rate averages of 5.3% and 6.5%, respectively. The three Central Oregon county’s unemployment rates have each increased since August 2022, but remain historically low. Crook’s unemployment rate is at 6.1% (10-year average is 7.4%), Deschutes’ at 4.4% (5.6%) and Jefferson’s at 5.9% (6.8%).


Topic of the Month: Net Domestic Migration by Age

Net domestic migration data from the 2021 5-Year American Community Survey (ACS) show strong in-migration to the Central Oregon tri-county area.

Broadly speaking, Central Oregon counties gained population across all age groups, except the “college-age” population. While a big chunk of migration to Deschutes is from Portland and Eugene, most is from out of state, especially the Seattle and Los Angeles metro areas, according to IRS tax return data. For Crook and Jefferson, most in-migration tends to be from in state, especially Deschutes County. For all three counties, most out-migration tends to go to one of the other central Oregon counties or the Portland or Eugene metro areas.


Good Reads

High housing costs and low availability are hallmarks of region’s housing shortage,” by Zack Demars, The Bulletin.

The Perks Workers Want Also Makes Them More Productive,” by Monica Potts, FiveThirtyEight.

See how many all-cash buyers snagged houses in your neighborhood,” by Emmanuel Martinez, Kevin Schaul and Hamza Shaban, The Washington Post.

What crappy beer demand tells us about the economy,” by Rachel Premack, Freight Waves.