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The Kmart store on Northwest Stewart Parkway closed in 2017, leaving a large, empty retail building. County unemployment numbers fell slightly to 5.2 percent in January.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Douglas County fell slightly from 5.3 percent in December to 5.2 percent in January, below the January 2017 rate of 5.8 percent. Meanwhile, the statewide and national unemployment rates were both 4.1 percent.

Annette Shelton-Tiderman, a regional economist, said January is typically a quiet time of year for employment.

“Things tend to drop off a bit, it’s almost the dead of winter,” she said. She said industries that have to do with outdoor activities like construction or leisure and hospitality tend to slow down in January.

Douglas County’s total payroll employment decreased by 410 jobs in January. Retail trade dropped by 120 jobs, leisure and hospitality by 90, and construction fell by 70 jobs, while manufacturing added 30 jobs in January.

Over the year ending in January, the county added 730 jobs for a 2 percent annual growth rate. Manufacturing grew by 270 jobs over the year, while construction added 210 jobs. The trade, transportation and utilities, and private-sector education and health services industries each added 120 jobs.

“Overall, the county employment is steadily increasing, in particular we’re up in manufacturing,” Shelton-Tiderman said. “The uptick in wood products manufacturing of 180 is very nice to see.”

However, government employment fell by 20 jobs over the year, and general merchandise stores lost 80 jobs over the year. Shelton-Tiderman said 2017 saw several closures, such as the Roseburg Kmart, that contributed to the loss in general merchandise jobs.

“We’re seeing very typical seasonal trends but overall things are moving ahead and gaining ground,” Shelton-Tiderman said.

Reporter Emily Hoard can be reached at 541-957-4217 or ehoard@nrtoday.com. Or follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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Business, Natural Resources and Outdoors Reporter

Emily Hoard is the business, outdoors and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4217 or by email at ehoard@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

(1) comment

Willie Stroker

People don't want to work at McDonalds or bother finding a job where they only make minimum wage. They can easily panhandle on a street corner and make almost double minimum wage.

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