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Unemployment in Columbia County is still high at 14.2%, but almost a point better than April

The latest employment numbers are in and — no huge surprise — things are tough in Columbia County.

   However, despite the enormous setbacks caused by the COVID-19 shutdown, there was some good news for the Columbia County economy, too. The county actually added 90 jobs in May — 20 more than expected — and in the process, the overall unemployment rate dropped from 15% in April to 14.2% in May.

The county's private sector gained 310 jobs in May, while government shed 220 jobs, with the leisure and hospitality sector adding 300 of those new jobs. Other industries had smaller changes.

May's total nonfarm employment numbers show a loss of 1,420 jobs from a year ago, a decrease of 12.1 percent. Almost every major industry lost jobs over the year, though losses were concentrated in leisure and hospitality, which was down 550 jobs for the year — a drop of 37.4 percent.

While the county's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from last month's record high, it was just 4.6 percent the year before. The county's unemployment rate peaked at 14.6 percent during the Great Recession. Statewide, the unemployment rate was 14.2 percent in May, while the national rate was 13.3 percent.

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the June county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, July 21, and the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for June on Tuesday, July 14.


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