Economy in Central Oregon

By Nicole Ramos  | Regional Economist, East Cascades | Oregon Employment Department

In Central Oregon, total nonfarm payroll employment was up by 2,720 jobs year-over-year, with most employment gains taking place in Deschutes County (+2,210 jobs), followed by Jefferson County (+260 jobs), and Crook County (+250 jobs).

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Oregon continued to decline in March to 4.4%. The U.S.’s unemployment rate also declined during the month of March to 3.5%. Similarly, seasonally adjusted unemployment rates fell throughout Central Oregon. Crook County had the highest unemployment rate at 5.9%, down from 6.2% in February, whereas Deschutes County had the smallest unemployment rate at 4.4%, down from 4.7% in February. Jefferson County’s unemployment rate is 5.5%.

Topic of the Month: The Highest and Lowest Paid Occupation Groups in 2022

This month, we look at the highest and lowest-paid occupation groups, by median hourly wage. In 2022, the top five highest-paid occupation groups in Central Oregon tended towards white-collar occupations, while those paying the least tended to be blue-collar occupations. Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations had the highest median hourly wage at $49.15, while food preparation and serving-related occupations had the lowest median hourly wage at $15.01—a difference of $34.14 per hour. Management occupations had the second highest median hourly wage at $39.97 per hour.  However, occupations within occupation groups are not created equal. For instance, managers associated with low-paying social and service-related occupations get paid less compared to managers associated with high-paying white-collar occupations. In terms of median hourly wage, lodging managers ($23.31), food service managers ($23.85), education administrators ($25.76), and social and community service managers ($29.58) were among the lowest paid. Comparatively, white-collar managers such as chief executives ($99.38), architectural and engineering managers ($62.25), and computer and information systems managers ($62.16) were among the highest paid. For more wage information on managers and other occupations and occupation groups in Central Oregon, you can download the wage file here.

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