Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mid-Columbia Region Looking for Cherries to Lift Summer Employment

The Columbia Gorge area (made up of Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, and Wheeler counties) is expecting a boost in jobs this summer as seasonal employment picks up for the cherry harvest. It is unclear how many of those hired for the harvest will be from the local area and how many will be seaonal migrant workers - but either way the area is expecting a decline in its unemployment rate in June and July.

The gorge also enjoys a healthy tourism industry in the summer as people flock to the area to enjoy the river and host formal events like weddings. However, the recent closure of an historic hotel may limit the availability of lodging and event hosting space - which might put a damper on tourism this summer. Even so, the recreation season is expected to stretch well in to September.

Dallas Fridley is the Regional Economist responsible for keeping tabs on employment and unemployment trends in the area. Each month he writes a publication detailing the local economy.

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