Deschutes County rate dropped, Crook County’s rose, Jefferson County unchanged

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.2% in January from 6.3% (as revised) in December, as the state added 8,300 jobs, the Oregon Employment Department reported Tuesday.

The state’s unemployment rate dropped by close to four tenths of a percentage point in each of the last three months of 2020, following more rapid declines during the prior five months.

Oregon’s peak unemployment rate, as recently revised, was 13.2% in April 2020. The U.S. unemployment rate has also dropped rapidly since April, and reached 6.3% in January.

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 8,300 jobs in January, following a loss of 27,500 in December. Three industries each added close to 2,000 jobs in January: retail trade (+2,100 jobs); leisure and hospitality (+2,100); and private educational services (+1,900). Two of the major industries cut about 1,000 jobs: transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-1,000 jobs) and construction (-800).

Despite the net job gain in January, employment still remains substantially below pre-pandemic levels. Total nonfarm payroll employment has dropped 162,800 jobs, or 8.3%, since January 2020. Nearly all industries have cut jobs during that time.

Leisure and hospitality is still down 76,800 jobs, or 35.6%, since January 2020. Private educational services experienced the second largest percentage decline in that time, as it cut 8,400 jobs, or 22.6%. The only industry to add jobs in the past 12 months was transportation, warehousing and utilities, which added 4,100 jobs, or 5.6%.

Newly revised employment numbers show job growth was stronger than initially reported in the second half of 2020. The trend in the last six months of the year was revised upward by an average of 8,700 jobs. However, the pandemic-induced drop during the spring of 2020 was 8,000 jobs larger than previously estimated.

Manufacturing was looking better than the previous estimates indicated, with upward revisions of about 2,300 jobs during the last six months of 2020. Nondurable goods manufacturing has added 3,500 jobs since April. Similarly, wholesale trade employment was revised upward; it added 1,500 jobs since its spring-2020 low point. 

Professional and technical services was also revised upward substantially. It employed 101,100 jobs in January, which was essentially equal to its high point of a year ago.

For the December data, only three major industries were revised downward substantially due to the annual revisions: retail trade (-2,200 jobs); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-1,500); and private educational services (-1,500).

Meanwhile, the employment situation was little changed in January across Central Oregon as the region remained in the “Extreme Risk” category for COVID-19 public health protocol, Regional Economist Damon Runberg reported Tuesday.

Here is the county breakdown:

Crook County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 7.8% in January, up from 7.6% in December. The unemployment rate remains significantly higher than in January 2020, when it was 4.8%.

Crook County posted a gain of 40 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in January. These gains were enough to recover most of the jobs lost the previous two months.

Employment in Crook County remains down 2.4% from last year (-150 jobs). Job losses in Crook County over the past year are among the lowest in the state. Job losses remain largely concentrated in leisure and hospitality (-150 jobs), construction (-150), and manufacturing (-50).

Deschutes County (Bend-Redmond MSA): The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 7.0% in January, down from 7.6% in December. The rate remains up from January 2020, when it was 3.4%.

Deschutes County posted a modest loss of 110 jobs in January on a seasonally adjusted basis. The county lost 1,550 jobs over the past two months, after regaining nearly 12,000 jobs from April to November 2020.

Total nonfarm employment in Deschutes County remained down 6.5% (5,660 jobs) from January 2020. Through January 2021, the county recovered nearly 10,400 of the 16,400 jobs lost during the initial COVID-19 shock, roughly 63% of jobs lost have been added back.

Job losses over the past year remain concentrated in leisure and hospitality (-2,900 jobs), local government education (-920), and manufacturing (-600). A few industries posted notable job gains, including retail trade (+440) and construction (+260).

Jefferson County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.1% in January. The rate was 4.3% in January 2020.

Jefferson County posted a modest gain of 20 jobs in January on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Employment levels remain down around 2.8% from this time last year (-180 jobs). Jefferson County has regained 57% of the jobs lost since the initial COVID-19 shock. The leisure and hospitality sector remains down by 110 jobs from this time last year and manufacturing is down by 60 jobs. Retail trade posted a gain of 60 jobs over the past year.