Douglas County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 6.8 percent in July to 7 percent in August, less than a percentage point below the August 2015 rate of 7.7 percent. Meanwhile, the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.4 percent and the national rate was 4.9 percent in August.
Oregon Employment Department Regional Economist Annette Shelton-Tiderman said people are typically moving into the area during the summer months and more people are entering into the labor force after finishing the school year.
“Until they find work, that rate’s going to go up a little bit, but as they get jobs the rate should drop back down,” Shelton-Tiderman said. She expects that to happen in September or October.
In July, the county civilian labor force included more than 46,000 people, but that number rose by more than 700 people in August.
Payroll employment added 400 jobs in the county over the month, corresponding with seasonal gains in local education. Trade, transportation and utilities showed the largest increase, with 80 more jobs, while professional and business services added 60. Construction rose by 30, and private education and health services rose by 20 jobs. Leisure and hospitality also gained 20 jobs, and government added 210 jobs, though the mining and logging industry and manufacturing each lost 20 jobs.
At a 2.9 percent annual growth rate, Douglas County grew by 1,040 jobs over the year ending in August. Employment growth was seen in leisure and hospitality, private educational and health services, transportation, transportation and utilities, mining and logging, professional and business services, other services and manufacturing. General merchandise stores, however, lost 40 jobs over the year. Both state and local government added jobs over the year.
Construction added 180 jobs for a 14 percent growth rate over the year, which Shelton-Tiderman said is particularly nice to see.
“Construction was one of the industries that was hit the hardest during the recession, and we still have a long way to go to get back to pre-recession levels, but this kind of growth is good to see for a lot of reasons,” Shelton-Tiderman said. Growth in the construction industry sends a ripple effect across other related sectors through the need to buy timber, nails, paint, carpeting and other supplies.
“It’s an industry that’s really good to watch because it affects so many other activities in our community,” she said.