Unemployment rates dropped ‘significantly’ across Central Oregon in September and monthly hiring exceeded seasonal expectations, according to a new report from the Oregon Employment Department.
Deschutes County (Bend-Redmond MSA):
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 5.1% in September, down from 5.4% in August, said Damon Runberg, a regional economist with the OED.
The unemployment rate remains higher than before the first impacts from COVID-19 in February 2020 when it was 3.3%.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that Deschutes County added 800 jobs in September, stronger gains than typical for this time of year.
According to these estimates, total nonfarm employment remains down by 3,240 jobs from the pre-COVID peak (-3.6%).
Revisions to recent Bend-Redmond MSA data will be released next month.
A handful of industries posted significant job gains over the past year, including financial activities (+480); education and health services (+400); manufacturing (+380); other services (+370); and construction (+160), Runberg said.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that both retail trade (-210) and leisure and hospitality (-110) lost jobs from last September.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.5% in September, another significant decline from 6.8% in August.
The unemployment rate remains around 2 percentage points higher than before the first impacts from COVID-19 in February 2020 when it was 4.4%, Runberg said.
Crook County lost 20 jobs in September. The region typically sees little change to the employment situation in September. Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment in September was roughly 1.5% (+100 jobs) above the preCOVID peak in February 2020.
The monthly job losses in September were concentrated in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and federal government.
Seasonal losses are typical in these sectors at the end of summer. Inversely, the monthly gains in local government and private education are typical from back-to-school hiring.
Runberg said the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.1% in September, down from 6.3% in August.
The unemployment rate remains higher than before the first impacts from COVID-19 in February 2020 when it was 4.1%.
Total nonfarm employment rose by 50 jobs in September, slower growth than typical this time of year.
As of September employment levels remain down only 1.9% (-130 jobs) from the pre-COVID peak in February 2020, he said.
Construction remains the fastest-growing major industry sector over the past year, adding 30 jobs (+21.4%).
The retail sector (+60 jobs) and manufacturing (+50 jobs) also posted strong gains from this time last year. There were also significant employment gains in local government over the past year with local education and Indian tribal both hiring.