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Jefferson County job growth is slightly stronger in February than typically expected.

The employment situation across Central Oregon was largely unchanged in February. Unemployment levels remained stable and hiring was mainly consistent with seasonal norms.

Jefferson County: The unemployment rate was unchanged over the past year. The rate was 5.6 percent in February, nearly identical with the 5.7 percent posted last February.

Jefferson County added 60 jobs in February, slightly stronger growth than typically expected this time of year.

Employment levels are up 2.8 percent (up 170 jobs) compared with this time last year. Job growth was fairly diverse, with moderate gains in a variety of industries, but relatively strong growth in manufacturing (up 70 jobs).

Growth in health care is primarily being inflated by home health care workers being reported in private health care beginning in 2018. Previously those workers were counted in state government.

Crook County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in February at 6.0 percent and from the same time last year, when it was 6.2 percent.

Crook County businesses shed around 20 jobs from January as they reached the seasonal trough of the local job market.

Employment levels are down a modest 50 jobs from last year (down 0.9 percent).

Crook County was only one of six counties across the state that posted job losses over the past year. However, much of the decline in total nonfarm employment is due to declines in government.

Private sector industries posted modest gains from last February. Job growth was seen in information; leisure and hospitality; health care; and professional and business services.

The growth in health care is largely being inflated by home health care workers being reported in private health care beginning in 2018. Previously those workers were counted in state government.

Deschutes County (Bend-Redmond municipal service area): The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.3 percent in February from 4.1 percent in January, not a statistically significant increase. The rate is up slightly from last February, when it was 3.7 percent.

Deschutes County added 520 jobs in February, more than typically expected that time of year. February was the 18th consecutive month with seasonally adjusted job gains.

As expected, the original estimates for January were revised downward. Employment levels remain up significantly from last year (up 4.2 percent), with businesses adding around 3,270 jobs. The rate of job growth has hovered around 3 to 4 percent for most of the past year.

Hiring is continuing in all private industry sectors. The growth in health care is largely being inflated by home health care workers being reported in private health care beginning in 2018. Previously those workers were counted in state government.

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