Employment remains strong, but unemployment has increased slightly since June

Clackamas County economic indicators remained strong in July, adding 3,000 jobs in July and 32,000 jobs since the bottom of the recession in 2010. However, July unemployment also increased to 3.9 percent from June after staying steady around 3.7 for the past few months.

Most of the jobs were added in various professional and business services including construction, health services, manufacturing, retail, leisure and hospitality. The increase was due to more than those 3,000 jobs residents entering or re-entering the labor force in July. Mining and lodging increased only very slightly, with federal and state governments, transportation, warehousing and utilities and local governments losing employees.

Canby had a labor force of 8,894 in July compared with 8781 a month earlier. A year earlier in July 2018, there were 8,462 people employed out of a work force of 8,826. This July's unemployment rate is 4.1 percent, up from 4.0 percent in June and exactly the same as July 2018.

Molalla's total labor force for July was up from June by 102 people at 4,688, with 4,459 of them employed compared with 4,616 last July 2020. That left 229 people unemployed bringing the unemployed percentage up a full point at 4.9 percent compared with 3.9 percent this June. Molalla's labor force in July 2018 was 4,616 people compared with 4,552 a month earlier. The unemployment percent a year ago July was 4.2 percent compared with 4.0 percent in June of that year.

The county's median home prices are nearly double what they were since prices bottomed out in 2012.

In July this year, home sales prices swelled to $445,000 in the county compared with $400,000 in Multnomah County and $420,338 in Washington County. The median home sales price in Clackamas County increased $221,650 or 99 percent since January 2012 when it hit bottom.

The county breakdown of home prices is made for Oregon City, Canby, Molalla, Beavercreek, and Molalla-Mulino. These have grown somewhat compared with December 2018 when the average price of a home was $392,500. July home prices in this breakdown were at $415,000, or $23,000 above seven months earlier, and about $30,000 less than the average price for the county.

Wages in the county have mostly been increasing, especially when the state's minimum wage law established a series of minimum rate increases starting July 1, 2016 through July 1, 2022. In 2016, the state enacted three separate schedules for standard, Portland metro and Non-urban counties. Clackamas was joined with Multnomah and Washington for Portland metro.

Clackamas County wages increased to $12.50 per hour on July 1 this year and will increase again to $13.25 on July 1, 2020. As well, the number of employees earning minimum wage more than doubled in 2018, jumping to 19,716 jobs or 10.2 percent over 2014. Minimum wage employees were significantly less in the third quarters of 2014 at 8,948 or 5.8 percent and 2016 at 10,278 or an increase of 5.6 percent.

Carol Rosen
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