Economy in the Central Oregon

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

All Central Oregon counties have fully recovered from job losses in 2020, and are in expansionary growth passing their pre-pandemic peaks. Over the 12-month span ending in September, Deschutes’ nonfarm payroll employment grew by 1.8% (1,640 jobs). A healthy rate, but slower than Oregon’s job growth rate of 4.2%. Crook’s and Jefferson’s employment both grew at a faster rate than Oregon in the same time period, 6.8% (480) and 4.6% (300), respectively.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Oregon ticked up a touch in September, though still remains very low at 3.8%. Oregon’s unemployment has remained below 4.0% for the past seven months, nearly reaching Oregon’s record low of 3.4%, which occurred in November 2019 through February 2020. The three Central Oregon county’s unemployment rates remained essentially unchanged. Crook’s unemployment rate remains low at 5.1% (its lowest monthly rate ever is 4.7%), Deschutes’ at 3.8% (3.3%) and Jefferson’s at 5.1% (4.4%).

Topic of the Month: Job Openings in Oregon

Total job openings and the job openings rate in Oregon and in the U.S. have declined in recent months, but they still remain relatively high historically. There were 131,000 job openings in Oregon in August 2022, a decline from the all-time high of 160,000 reached in December 2021. However, the number of job openings is still 15% higher than it was in February 2020.

The explosion in labor demand after the Pandemic Recession is a major reason why the labor market is so tight in Oregon and across the U.S. With the decline in job openings, the labor market will loosen more and more. Though, there is still a long way to go before the labor market resembles what it did pre-pandemic.

Good Reads

They quit their jobs. Here’s what they are doing now. by Hamza Shaban, The Washington Post.

The Pandemic Rise in Self-Employment: Who Is Working for Themselves Now? by Annabel Utz, Julie Yixia Cai and Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Working from Home since COVID – the New Work Experiment,” Oregon Employment Department.

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