Jefferson County's unemployment dropped from 5.5 percent in April to 5.2 percent in May.

MADRAS PIONEER LOGO - Unemployment rates across Central Oregon dropped in May.Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates dropped significantly across Central Oregon in May.

Much of the decline in unemployment can be attributed to strong hiring across the region, with the majority of that growth concentrated in Deschutes County. Job growth in rural counties continues to be significantly slower.

In Jefferson County, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent in May from 5.5 percent in April. The rate remains little changed from May 2017 when it was 5.4 percent.

Jefferson County added 130 jobs in May, which was about half as many as would typically be expected this time of year.

Total nonfarm employment is largely unchanged over the past year. Industry trends are mixed with strong job growth in manufacturing (up 70 jobs), construction (up 30), and leisure and hospitality (up 20).

There were minor losses in the trades, in particular, retail trade and professional and business services. Additionally, there were notable losses from local government agencies (down 90 jobs) with most of those losses from Indian tribal government.

Growth in health care has largely been inflated by home health care workers being reported in private health care beginning in 2018. Previously these workers were counted in state government.

For Crook County, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent in May from 5.8 percent in April, a statistically significant decline. The rate remains down from this time last year when it was 6.1 percent.

Total nonfarm employment rose by 120 jobs in May, typical hiring for this time of year.

Over the past year, Crook County's employment base expanded by a modest 1.2 percent (up 70 jobs). Hiring was largely concentrated in private sector businesses, with notable gains in construction, wholesale trade, information, and leisure and hospitality. Private sector losses were isolated to professional and business services, which only shed around 20 jobs over the past year.

In Deschutes County — the Bend-Redmond municipal service area —the unemployment rate dipped to a new historical low of 3.8 percent in May. The rate was 4.2 percent in April and 4.0 percent this time last year. The unemployment rate is largely unchanged over the past year, despite the statistically significant decline in the rate last month.

Deschutes County added 1,270 jobs in May, slightly stronger hiring than typically expected this time of year. As expected, most of the jobs added in the past month were concentrated in seasonal industries, such as leisure and hospitality and construction.

Employment growth over the past year continues to be strong, with the county adding 3,170 jobs since May 2017 (up 3.9 percent). There are no signs of an impending recession as every major private industry sector added jobs in the past 12 months.

Housing-related industries, such as construction and financial activities continue to grow rapidly. Other fast-growing industries include leisure and hospitality and professional and business services.

Growth in health care has been largely inflated by a change in home health care workers being counted in private health care. Until 2018, those workers were counted in state government.

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