Region showing strong employment gains, but initial losses in Deschutes Co. worse than estimated


Recovery from the COVID-19 shock continued in October with strong monthly employment gains across Central Oregon, according to new numbers from the Oregon Employent Department.

In addition to the new monthly figures, the employment situation from earlier in the spring saw significant revisions using payroll records through June, providing a clearer picture of the initial COVID-19 shock and early recovery.

These revisions revealed that job losses were not nearly as significant as initially estimated for both Crook and Jefferson counties; however, the losses in Deschutes County (Bend MSA) were larger than those early estimates.

Deschutes County (Bend-Redmond MSA):

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 7.3% in October, down from a revised rate of 8.0% in September.

The rate remains significantly higher than before the COVID-19 crisis; it was 3.3% in March 2020.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment rose by 1,330, a significant monthly gain of more than 1.6%.

Revisions to the employment situation revealed that Deschutes County’s initial employment shock due to COVID-19 was slightly worse than originally estimated.

The county lost around 15,700 jobs in the first few months of the crisis. The county has recovered around 9,250 of those jobs lost, but total nonfarm employment remains down 7.2% from before the crisis.

The largest employment losses over the past year remain in leisure and hospitality, down around 2,500 jobs from last October.

Employment in the manufacturing sector also remains down significantly from this time last year (-850 jobs) with those losses nearly split between the durable and non-durable forms of manufacturing.

Crook County:

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 8.0% in October, down from the revised rate of 9.0% in September.

The unemployment rate is much improved since May, but still higher than before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; it was 4.8% in March 2020.

Total nonfarm employment rose by 30 jobs in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, continuing the recovery from the initial COVID-19 shock in April. Recent revisions using payroll tax records through June 2020 revealed that the COVID-19 job losses were not nearly as severe as initially estimated.

The county lost 540 jobs in April, rather than the initial estimate of roughly 800 jobs.

Crook County has recovered 350 of those 540 jobs lost during the COVID-19 crisis through October. Crook County’s job losses over the past year remain in leisure and hospitality (-130 jobs), as well as manufacturing (-110 jobs). Construction, information, and professional and business services all added jobs over the past year.

Jefferson County:

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.5% in October, down from 8.44% in September.

The rate was 4.2% in March 2020 before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jefferson County added 50 jobs in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, following a revised gain of 50 jobs in September. Revisions to Jefferson County’s employment situation were significant. Initial COVID-19 losses were roughly 30% lower than the original estimate with total nonfarm employment only decreasing by around 780 jobs.

As of October the county has recovered 480 of those jobs, roughly 60% of total jobs lost.

Job losses over the past year remain concentrated in leisure and hospitality (-70 jobs); Indian tribal government (-60 jobs); education and health services (-60 jobs); and manufacturing (-50 jobs)


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