Union Co. jobless rate rises in August
As summer wound down in Union County and greater Eastern Oregon, news from the Oregon Employment Department was less than upbeat.
Regional Economist Jason Yohannan reported that the jobless rate in Union County climbed in August after two months of slight improvement. The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 11.5 percent for the month.
“After a couple of months of improvement, August’s unemployment rate changed direction and moved back to its highest level since May,” Yohannan said.In the October issue of Eastern Oregon Labor Tends, Yohannan said total non-farm employment dropped by an estimated 90 positions, to 9,690. He said that was Union County’s lowest job count in 10 years.
The county’s manufacturing sector continued to struggle, but so too did other industries, according to Yohannan. Wholesale trade, information, financial activities and local government all showed job losses.
“Combine that with all the manufacturing job losses Union County has experienced, and it’s easier to explain why non-farm employment was at a 10-year low and unemployment was stuck above 11 percent,” Yohannan said.
As summer drew toward an end, the jobs picture in Wallowa County was bleak also. Wallowa County reported a 9.9 percent jobless rate for August, nearly double the rate in August 2008.
Yohannan said that in August 2008, 192 people were out of work in Wallowa County; in August of this year the number nearly doubled, to 383.
Total non-farm employment dipped by an estimated 30 jobs over the month of August, even though no single industry cut more than 10 jobs.
Among industries in decline in Wallowa County in August was manufacturing, where the estimate of 110 workers employed tied the numbers from January and February for lowest of the decade.
Yohannan said Wallowa County’s manufacturing sector employed as many as 240 people as recently as the second half of 2005.
Elsewhere in the region, Baker County posted a 9.3 percent unemployment rate; Grant County came in at 10.6 percent, Harney a whopping 14.9 percent; and Malheur 10.9 percent.
Oregon’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August was 11.9 percent. Across the United States, it was 9.6 percent.