Douglas County unemployment increased in February, but showed a net total job growth over the month.
Douglas County’s seasonally adjusted February unemployment rate increased to 5.9 percent from a revised 5.8 percent in January. Even though more than 20 jobs were added primarily in federal and local government education jobs.
Retail, transportation, warehousing and utilities, professional and business services and wood product manufacturing lost about 220 jobs in February.
From February 2018 to this February, businesses reported losses in wood product manufacturing, construction and information.
Swanson Group announced it would close its mill in Glendale in February. While the company plans on moving employees to one of two other local plants, CEO Steve Swanson said there isn’t enough timber to keep it operational.
“The issue is simply timber supply,” Swanson said. “The region is starving for timber and it’s just not being sold by the biggest landowner which is the federal government.”
The mill will be fully shut down by the end of May. Swanson said the Glendale Mill is surrounded by “billions of feet of timber” owned by the U.S. Forest Service and not being able to buy that timber has been a struggle for that mill for a while.
This month’s unemployment rate is above the February 2018 rate of 5.3 percent and below Oregon’s seasonally adjusted February 2019 unemployment rate of 4.4 percent; the national rate was 3.8 percent.