Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Oregon's Areas of Long-Term Labor Market Misery

When the Oregon Employment Department releases the latest unemployment rate estimates for Oregon's counties every month, we usually note which counties had the highest and lowest jobless rates. For most of the counties with high unemployment, double-digit joblessness has been a fact of life for a long time.

Based on preliminary labor force data through July 2013, about two-thirds of Oregon's counties had a July unemployment rate under 10 percent, so they aren't even in this conversation. But we can't say the same for the other third.

Using seasonally adjusted data, Grant County has endured a longer stretch of double-digit unemployment than anywhere else in Oregon. As of July 2013, the county's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate had been at or above 10 percent, without exception, for more than five years - a high-unemployment era extending all the way back to May 2008.

Several other counties, primarily in Central, Southern, and Eastern Oregon, are not far behind Grant County's predicament. The chart below identifies eight counties in all that had at least 58 consecutive months with seasonally adjusted unemployment rates cracking double digits.

Although it's included in the chart, Deschutes County just recently fell off this list. The UR in August 2013 was 9.9 percent.

For more information, check out the full article written by Regional Economist Jason Yohannan.

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