While Central Oregon was in the moderate risk category for the transmission of COVID-19, the employment recovery was extraordinary, according to the March state employment report.

The job gains are so significant that all three counties in Central Oregon could come close to full job recovery by this summer, said Damon Runberg, Oregon Employment Department regional economist.

“I was shocked when I saw the numbers. It was a phenomenal month,” Runberg said. “When we’re seeing such massive gains like this, you have to remember that we’ll be that much closer to be fully recovered.

“At the pace of job recovery we see now, we’ll be fully recovered by June. I think it’s because of the combination of the nice weather and businesses can expand to legitimate outdoor dining. People are out.”

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Deschutes County dropped to 6.6%, down from 6.8% in February, but higher than it was pre-pandemic shutdown in March 2020, when it was 3.3%, according to the employment report.

The county added 1,880 jobs since February, the largest gain since last summer when the county added 2,760 jobs in July, the report stated. Most of those jobs were in the leisure and hospitality industry, as many restaurants and bars opened for indoor dining when the county moved to the moderate risk level on March 12. It allows for 50% capacity indoors.

Deschutes County was moved back to high risk, which limits indoor dining to 25% capacity on April 9.

In Jefferson County, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped just slightly to 6.8% in March compared to 6.9% in February, but it was still higher than March of 2020 when it was 4.2%, according to the report.

Only 40 jobs were added to Jefferson County in March, a slower pace than neighboring counties, the report states. However, despite the slower pace of recovery, the county is the closest in Central Oregon to recovering all the jobs lost due to COVID-19 business shutdowns designed to contain the virus.

In Crook County, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped dramatically in March to 7.3% compared to 7.9% in February, but it was still higher than the same time the year before, the report states.

About 120 jobs were added in March, the second highest in the current recovery phase .

Regional economist lists reasons many businesses are struggling to find new workers.

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The recovery surged in March, behind significant job gains across all three Central Oregon counties, the state Employment Department reported Tuesday. The region posted the strongest monthly job gains since last summer.

“The employment recovery in March was extraordinary, with monthly job gains the highest since early last summer, when the region began to move out of the initial lockdown phase,” Regional Economist Damon Runberg said in his monthly report.

“Businesses are hiring and workers are flooding back into the labor market,” Runberg said. “At the current pace of job growth, the region would completely recover all jobs lost in the COVID-19 recession by June,” he added.

Runberg added, “We are now one year out from the first pandemic impacts captured in the employment and labor force data. It is important to note that looking at over-the-year change is no longer a reflection of pre-COVID trends.”

Here’s his detailed report: 

Crook County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped significantly in March, to 7.3%, down from 7.9% in February. The unemployment rate remains higher than in March 2020, when it was 4.8%.

Employment levels rose significantly in March, up 120 jobs (+1.9%) on a seasonally adjusted basis. The monthly gains in March were the second highest in our current recovery, only trailing the June 2020 gain of 170 jobs, after the initial lockdowns eased.

Monthly job gains were spread across a variety of industries, with the largest in leisure and hospitality (+60 jobs) and construction (+50 jobs). There were also notable gains in education, health services, and professional and business services.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment in March was down by only 90 jobs (-1.3%) from before the first COVID-19 impacts in February 2020.

Deschutes County (Bend-Redmond MSA): The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.6% in March, down from 6.8% in February. The rate remains up from March 2020, when it was 3.3%.

Hiring surged in March across Deschutes County, with 1,880 jobs (+2.2%) jobs added on a seasonally adjusted basis from February. The gains in March were the largest since last July, when the county added 2,760 jobs in a single month.

Those monthly gains were largely concentrated in leisure and hospitality (+1,120 jobs) as many restaurants reopened for indoor dining. However, there were also strong gains in retail trade, local government education, private education and health services, and manufacturing.

Compared with the Pre-COVID peak in February 2020, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment in Deschutes County remained down just 3.4% (-3,030 jobs). Just three months ago, the county was down by 6.7%, — “an amazing pace of recovery over the past two months,” Runberg noted.

Jefferson County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped slightly to 6.8% in March, down from 6.9% in February. The rate was 4.2% in March 2020.

Jefferson County posted a gain of 40 jobs (~1%) on a seasonally adjusted basis in March, a slightly slower pace of growth than

Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.0 percent in March, from 6.1 percent in February. For the past three months, Oregon’s unemployment rate has ticked down by a tenth of a point each month.

During the past 11 months the pace of recovery in Oregon’s unemployment rate has mirrored the national experience. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.0 percent in March, from 6.2 percent in February.

Nonfarm payroll employment rose 20,100 jobs in March, following a gain of 15,300, as revised, in February. Two-thirds of all the jobs gained in March were in leisure and hospitality (+13,900 jobs). Three other major industries each added more than 1,000 jobs: manufacturing (+2,000 jobs); professional and business services (+1,300); and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+1,100).

Construction and private educational services each added 700 jobs. All other major industries performed close to their normal seasonal patterns.

The 20,100 total nonfarm jobs added in March was Oregon’s largest monthly gain since 38,300 jobs were added in July. March’s gain was the third monthly increase, following a large drop in December that was the result of temporary, heightened restrictions at the time.

In March, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment totaled 1,840,600, a drop of 132,400 jobs, or 6.7 percent from the pre-recession peak in February 2020. Oregon’s employment dropped to a low of 1,687,500 by April 2020. Since then, Oregon has recovered 153,100 jobs, or 54 percent of the jobs lost between February and April 2020.

Over the past year, the employment gyrations in leisure and hospitality have accounted for a large share of the swings in Oregon’s total employment. This broad industry includes restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotels, golf courses and fitness centers. It employed a peak of 216,300 jobs in February 2020, which was 11 percent of total nonfarm payroll employment.

Then, within two months, leisure and hospitality cut over half its jobs. Since then, the industry recovered about half the drop, to employ 165,200 jobs by November. Then, hit by renewed COVID-19 restrictions, the industry retrenched to 136,800 jobs in December. Since then, the industry added 25,900 jobs over the past three months and is close to its recent high point from last November, but is still far below its February 2020 peak.

Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 6% in March, from 6.1% in February, a reflection of the more than 20,000 net jobs gained in the month, according to data released Tuesday by the Oregon Employment Department.

For the past three months, Oregon’s unemployment rate has ticked down by a tenth of a percentage point each month. During the past 11 months, the pace of recovery in Oregon’s unemployment rate has mirrored the national rate, the Oregon Employment data showed. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6% in March, from 6.2% in February.

Oregon payroll employment rose by 20,100 jobs in March, following a gain of 15,300 jobs in February. Two-thirds of all the jobs gained in March were in the area of leisure and hospitality, which saw an increase of 13,900 jobs. Three other major industries each added more than 1,000 jobs: manufacturing, which added 2,000 jobs; professional and business services, which gained 1,300 jobs; and transportation, warehousing, and utilities, which added 1,100 jobs, according to the data released Tuesday

Additionally, construction and private educational services each added 700 jobs. All other major industries performed close to their normal seasonal patterns.

The 20,100 total nonfarm jobs added in March was Oregon’s largest monthly gain since 38,300 jobs were added last July. March’s gain was the third monthly increase, following a large drop in December that was the result of temporary, heightened restrictions at the time, the Oregon Employment Department said.

In March, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment totaled 1.8 million, a drop of 132,400 jobs, or 6.7% from the pre-recession peak in February 2020. Oregon’s employment dropped to a low of nearly 1.7 million by April 2020. Since then, Oregon has recovered 153,100 jobs, or 54% of the jobs lost between February and April 2020, according to the data.

Over the past year, the employment shifts in leisure and hospitality have accounted for a large share of the swings in Oregon’s total employment. This broad industry includes restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotels, golf courses and fitness centers. It employed a peak of 216,300 jobs in February 2020, which was 11% of total nonfarm payroll employment.

Then, within two months, leisure and hospitality cut over half its jobs. Since then, the industry gained back about half the jobs shed, to employ 165,200 jobs by November. Then, hit by renewed COVID-19 restrictions, the industry scaled back to 136,800 jobs in December.

Since then, the industry added 25,900 jobs over the past three months and is close to its recent high point from last November. However, it is still far below its February 2020 peak, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

Scott Carroll can be reached at [email protected] or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

Oregon’s jobless rate dropped slightly in March, according to new data released Tuesday from the Oregon Employment Department, falling a tenth of a percentage point to 6.0%.

Oregon added 20,000 jobs last month. Most of the gains were in the leisure and hospitality sector as bars and restaurants steadily reopened after a broad wintertime shutdown that accompanied a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The state has now regained 54% of the jobs lost in the early days of the pandemic, 153,100 altogether. Oregon’s jobless rate is less than half its peak 11 months ago, 13.2%, but it’s still well above the historic lows around 3.5% in the months before the pandemic hit.

Oregon’s unemployment rate in March matched the national figure. But the state’s unemployment rate has barely budged since December.

And more than 9,000 Oregonians filed new jobless claims in each of the past two weeks, the fastest pace of new filings since January.

Permanent layoffs make up a rising share of all job cuts, indicating that Oregonians losing their jobs now don’t expect their employers will ever call them back to work. That could slow the pace of recovery in the months ahead.

Meanwhile, many workers have exhausted their eligibility under prior jobless programs after a year of unemployment. That doesn’t necessarily mean the end of benefits payments, but it does require that unemployed workers make a complicated shift to extend their aid.

That’s produced a flood of phone calls to the employment department, more than at any point since the early days of Oregon’s “stay home” order a year ago. The department’s phone lines remain jammed, as they have been for most of the past year, and the agency says it expects to take until the end of the year to unclog them.

So for now, the department recommends people with questions about their claims use its online Contact Us form to make inquiries about their benefits.

The form spares laid-off workers the anxiety and frustration of trying to get through the department’s exasperating phone system, but 80% of inquiries submitted online take more than a week to resolve.

Copyright 2021 Tribune Content Agency.

Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.0% in March, from 6.1% in February. For the past three months, Oregon’s unemployment rate has ticked down by a tenth of a point each month, according to the Oregon Employment Department.






Oregon's Latest Unemployment Report

Over the past year, the employment gyrations in leisure and hospitality have accounted for a large share of the swings in Oregon’s total employment. This broad industry includes restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotels, golf courses, and fitness centers.




During the past 11 months the pace of recovery in Oregon’s unemployment rate has mirrored the national experience. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.0% in March, from 6.2% in February.

Nonfarm payroll employment rose 20,100 jobs in March, following a gain of 15,300, as revised, in February. Two-thirds of all the jobs gained in March were in leisure and hospitality (+13,900 jobs). Three other major industries each added more than 1,000 jobs: manufacturing (+2,000 jobs); professional and business services (+1,300); and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+1,100). Construction and private educational services each added 700 jobs. All other major industries performed close to their normal seasonal patterns.

The 20,100 total nonfarm jobs added in March was Oregon’s largest monthly gain since 38,300 jobs were added in July. March’s gain was the third monthly increase, following a large drop in December that was the result of temporary, heightened restrictions at the time.

In March, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment totaled 1,840,600, a drop of 132,400 jobs, or 6.7% from the pre-recession peak in February 2020. Oregon’s employment dropped to a low of 1,687,500 by April 2020. Since then, Oregon has recovered 153,100 jobs, or 54% of the jobs lost between February and April 2020.

Over the past year, the employment gyrations in leisure and hospitality have accounted for a large share of the swings in Oregon’s total employment. This broad industry includes restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotels, golf courses, and fitness centers. It employed a peak of 216,300 jobs in February 2020 which was 11% of total nonfarm payroll employment.

Then, within two months, leisure and hospitality cut over half its jobs. Since then, the industry recovered about half the drop, to employ 165,200 jobs by November. Then, hit by renewed COVID restrictions, the industry retrenched to 136,800 jobs in December.

Since then, the industry added 25,900 jobs over the past three months and is close to its recent high point from last November, but is still far below its February 2020 peak.

The Oregon Employment Department reports statewide 2,013,543 employed and 140,284 unemployed in March. In March 2020, there were 2,009,490 employed and 89,389 unemployed in Oregon.

Two-thirds of job gains in leisure and hospitality amid ‘gyrations’ in sector

SALEM. Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.0% in March, from 6.1% in February, as the state gained more than 20,000 jobs, the Oregon Employment Department reported Tuesday.

For the past three months, Oregon’s unemployment rate has ticked down by a tenth of a point each month.

“During the past 11 months, the pace of recovery in Oregon’s unemployment rate has mirrored the national experience,” the monthly report stated. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.0% in March, from 6.2% in February.

Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment rose 20,100 jobs in March, following a gain of 15,300, as revised, in February. Two-thirds of all the jobs gained in March were in leisure and hospitality (+13,900 jobs).

Three other major industries each added more than 1,000 jobs: manufacturing (+2,000 jobs); professional and business services (+1,300); and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+1,100). Construction and private educational services each added 700 jobs. All other major industries performed close to their normal seasonal patterns.

The 20,100 total nonfarm jobs added in March was Oregon’s largest monthly gain since 38,300 jobs were added in July. March’s gain was the third monthly increase, following a large drop in December that was the result of temporary, heightened restrictions at the time.

In March, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment totaled 1,840,600, a drop of 132,400 jobs, or 6.7% from the pre-recession peak in February 2020. Oregon’s employment dropped to a low of 1,687,500 by April 2020. Since then, Oregon has recovered 153,100 jobs, or 54% of the jobs lost between February and April 2020.

Over the past year, the employment gyrations in leisure and hospitality have accounted for a large share of the swings in Oregon’s total employment, the Employment Department said.

This broad industry includes restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotels, golf courses, and fitness centers. It employed a peak of 216,300 jobs in February 2020, which was 11% of total nonfarm payroll employment.

Then, within two months, leisure and hospitality cut over half its jobs. Since then, the industry recovered about half the drop, to employ 165,200 jobs by November.

Then, hit by renewed COVID restrictions, the industry retrenched to 136,800 jobs in December. Since then, the industry added 25,900 jobs over the past three months and is close to its recent high point from last November, but is still far below its February 2020 peak.

Next Press Releases

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the March county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, Apr. 20, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for April on Tuesday, May 18.

The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) work cooperatively to develop and publish monthly Oregon payroll employment and labor force data. The estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other sources.

The PDF version of the

National avergae drops from 6.2% to 6%

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s unemployment rate dipped slightly in March, falling from 6.1% to 6.0%, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

The change was attributed to 20,1000 jobs being added last month–two-thirds of the job gains coming in the leisure and hospitality industry. Manufacturing accounted for about 10% of the new jobs as well, according to OED.

“The 20,100 total nonfarm jobs added in March was Oregon’s largest monthly gain since 38,300 jobs were added in July,” OED said in a release Tuesday. “March’s gain was the third monthly increase, following a large drop in December that was the result of temporary, heightened restrictions at the time.”

Employment gyrations in leisure and hospitality have accounted for a large share of the swings in Oregon’s total employment for the past year, according to OED. The industry–which includes restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotels, golf courses, and fitness centers–employed a peak of 216,300 jobs in February 2020 — roughly 11% of total nonfarm payroll employment. By April 2020, more than half of those jobs were cut. The industry recovered about half the drop by November, but renewed COVID restrictions in later the winter forced the industry to eliminate 136,800 jobs.

Since December, the industry added 25,900 jobs and is close to its recent high point from last November, but is still far below its February 2020 peak, according to OED.

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.0% in March, from 6.2% in February.

Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.0% in March, from 6.1% in February. For the past three months, Oregon’s unemployment rate has ticked down by a tenth of a point each month, according to the Oregon Employment Department.



Oregon's Jobs

The Oregon Employment Department reports 2,013,543 employed and 140,284 unemployed in March.




During the past 11 months the pace of recovery in Oregon’s unemployment rate has mirrored the national experience. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.0% in March, from 6.2% in February.

Nonfarm payroll employment rose 20,100 jobs in March, following a gain of 15,300, as revised, in February. Two-thirds of all the jobs gained in March were in leisure and hospitality (+13,900 jobs). Three other major industries each added more than 1,000 jobs: manufacturing (+2,000 jobs); professional and business services (+1,300); and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+1,100). Construction and private educational services each added 700 jobs. All other major industries performed close to their normal seasonal patterns.

The 20,100 total nonfarm jobs added in March was Oregon’s largest monthly gain since 38,300 jobs were added in July. March’s gain was the third monthly increase, following a large drop in December that was the result of temporary, heightened restrictions at the time.

In March, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment totaled 1,840,600, a drop of 132,400 jobs, or 6.7% from the pre-recession peak in February 2020. Oregon’s employment dropped to a low of 1,687,500 by April 2020. Since then, Oregon has recovered 153,100 jobs, or 54% of the jobs lost between February and April 2020.

Over the past year, the employment gyrations in leisure and hospitality have accounted for a large share of the swings in Oregon’s total employment. This broad industry includes restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotels, golf courses, and fitness centers. It employed a peak of 216,300 jobs in February 2020 which was 11% of total nonfarm payroll employment.

Then, within two months, leisure and hospitality cut over half its jobs. Since then, the industry recovered about half the drop, to employ 165,200 jobs by November. Then, hit by renewed COVID restrictions, the industry retrenched to 136,800 jobs in December.

Since then, the industry added 25,900 jobs over the past three months and is close to its recent high point from last November, but is still far below its February 2020 peak.

The Oregon Employment Department reports statewide 2,013,543 employed and 140,284 unemployed in March. In March 2020, there were 2,009,490 employed and 89,389 unemployed in Oregon.

Oregon’s jobless rate dropped slightly in March, according to new data out Tuesday from the Oregon Employment Department, falling a tenth of a percentage point to 6.0%.

Oregon added 20,000 jobs last month. Most of the gains were in the leisure and hospitality sector as bars and restaurants steadily reopened after a broad wintertime shutdown that accompanied a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The state has now regained 54% of the jobs lost in the early days of the pandemic, 153,100 altogether. Oregon’s jobless rate is less than half its peak 11 months ago, 13.2%, but it’s still well above the historic lows around 3.5% in the months before the pandemic hit.

Oregon’s unemployment rate in March matched the national figure. But the state’s unemployment rate has barely budged since December.

And more than 9,000 Oregonians filed new jobless claims in each of the past two weeks, the fastest pace of new filings since January.

Permanent layoffs make up a rising share of all job cuts, indicating that Oregonians losing their jobs now don’t expect their employers will ever call them back to work. That could slow the pace of recovery in the months ahead.

Meanwhile, many workers have exhausted their eligibility under prior jobless programs after a year of unemployment. That doesn’t necessarily mean the end of benefits payments, but it does require that unemployed workers make a complicated shift to extend their aid.

That’s produced a flood of phone calls to the employment department, more than at any point since the early days of Oregon’s “stay home” order a year ago. The department’s phone lines remain jammed, as they have been for most of the past year, and the agency says it expects to take until the end of the year to unclog them.

So for now, the department recommends people with questions about their claims use its online “Contact Us” form to make inquiries about their benefits.

The form spares laid-off workers the anxiety and frustration of trying to get through the department’s exasperating phone system, but 80% of inquiries submitted online take more than a week to resolve.

— Mike Rogoway | [email protected] | twitter: @rogoway |