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St. Charles remains largest single job provider in Central Oregon according to report

The Les Schwab company remains the largest employer in Crook County, with 400 jobs.

Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) has released its 2018 Largest Central Oregon Employers listings, complete with breakouts of the top employers in each Central Oregon community. This data, collected by EDCO annually for nearly the past 20 years, is the most comprehensive major employer list in Central Oregon.

This year, the top 50 private companies collectively employ more than 21,000 Central Oregonians, or roughly 19 percent of the region's current total employment of 111,427. St. Charles Health System tops the list again, employing over 4,100 people regionwide. In 2017, St. Charles employed 4,437.

Following St. Charles, the second-largest employer in Central Oregon is Sunriver Resort with 1,100 employees (up from 1,000 in 2017). The Madras-based millwork company, Bright Wood, is third with 986 employees at its Madras and much-smaller Redmond facility, an increase over the 2017 total of 915.

Les Schwab, with its heaquarters in Bend and its commercial plants in Prineville, employ 926 people in total to rank fourth. It reported the same number of workers in 2017.

The fifth through 10th largest employers include: Safeway (878, down from 1,013 last year), Mt. Bacherlor (840, compared to 770 last year); Fred Meyer 628, up from 652); McDonald's (615, down from 748 in 2017); IBEX (540, same as last year); and Summit Medical Group, formerly Bend Memorial Clinic, (538, down from 634).

Behind Schwab, the top five Crook County employers are: Crook County School District (343, down from 388 in 2017); Brasada Ranch (275, down from 300); Contact Industries (250, up from 229) and St. Charles Health System (235, up from 221 in 2017).

According to Damon Runberg, Regional Economist at the Oregon Employment Department, 78 percent of Oregon establishments had nine or fewer employees and the average private establishment employed 11 people in 2018.

"A big 'thank you' to all the tri-county companies, non-profits, cities and counties that provided information for these lists," said Roger Lee, CEO of EDCO. "While our economy is dominated by small employers, the region has, over time, also attracted and grown some significant employers."

EDCO often fields requests about the employment base and largest private employers from both traded-sector companies (manufacturers, high technology, and some professional service companies) and non-traded sector (retail and commercial businesses, education, healthcare, hospitality, construction, etc.) looking to evaluate the region for investment and new or expanded operations. EDCO's regional list focuses on private (for-profit and non-profit) employers while those at the community level include both private and public employees.

"It is a significant undertaking to gather this data, however, we believe it is useful information from which trends can be seen on an employer-by-employer level, as well as shifts in the overall economy," said Elise Rossman, director of marketing and communications for EDCO.

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