unemployment numbers

This graph shows unemployment rates in Douglas County and statewide going back to 2015.

The unemployment rate in Douglas County dipped below 6% last month as the jobs market continues to stabilize following the devastation wrought by COVID-19.

The unemployment rate was 5.9% in November, compared to 6.5% in October, according to data released Tuesday by the Oregon Employment Department. The county unemployment rate had been in double digits much of the year due to layoffs and closures associated with COVID-19.

The Douglas County rate is tracking slightly below the statewide and national rates. The Oregon unemployment rate in November was 6% and the U.S. rate was 6.7%.

The jobs market has resembled a roller-coaster this year due to COVID-19.

Back in January Douglas County’s unemployment rate had dropped to 4.7%, the lowest rate going back to 1990, when comparable statistics began. Oregon’s January unemployment rate was 3.3%; the national rate was 3.6%.

Then COVID-19 hit and everything changed. The county’s unemployment rate soared to 16.5% in April. The Oregon unemployment rate for April was 14.9%, and the national rate was 14.7%.

In May the job market got slightly better. The county’s unemployment rate came down a bit, to 14.7%. The Oregon unemployment rate in May was 13.8%, and the U.S. rate was 13%.

November’s rate of 5.9% in Douglas County was less than half the rate in May.

The county’s payroll employers dropped a seasonally adjusted 30 jobs in November after adding 50 in September and adding 290 in October. Douglas County has gained back 47% of the jobs lost in March and April at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.

The largest private-sector gains in Douglas County were in transportation, warehousing, and utilities, which netted 50 jobs; education and health services, which saw an increase of 40 jobs; and professional and business services, where 30 jobs were added.

There were losses in leisure and hospitality, where 60 jobs were lost, and construction, which shed 40 jobs.

Government lost 20 jobs from a loss of 110 in federal government, largely from census workers, which was countered by gains of 60 jobs in local education, 20 jobs in noneducation local government, and 10 Indian tribal jobs.

When comparing November 2020 with November 2019, total nonfarm employment is down 1,840 jobs, or 4.7%. All major private industry sectors are down over the year except wholesale trade, which gained 80 jobs.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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