The Oregon Employment Department released its unemployment numbers for the month of December 2013 on Monday, which showed that the economy is still recovering at a slow but steady pace in the Hood River Valley.
Hood River County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was little changed in December, falling by 0.1 percentage point to 5.6 percent, good enough to rank as Oregon’s second-lowest county rate, right behind first-place Benton County’s 5.3 percent. Compared with December 2012, Hood River County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by 1 percentage point.
Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage point in December to 7 percent. Compared with December 2012, Oregon’s unemployment rate fell by 1.3 percentage points over the year.
Industry Employment in Hood River County provided the Mid-Columbia’s highlight, gaining 180 private industry jobs in December to total 9,860. A loss of 10 in government dropped its total to 1,340 in December. With a non-farm payroll employment total of 11,200, Hood River County rose by 360 jobs over the 12-month period ending in December, an increase of 3.3 percent.
Retail trade delivered its December gifts, rising by 260 jobs to total 1,520 and matching its year-ago job total. The holiday season brings snow and jobs to Mt. Hood and in Hood River County that meant an increase of 100 jobs for arts, entertainment and recreation. With 870 jobs in December, arts, entertainment and recreation also matched its year ago total.
Professional and business services managed a gain of 10 in December, just enough to match its year-ago employment total at 950.
The lump of coal in December’s employment belongs to wholesale trade where a loss of 150 jobs cut its total to 630, a favorable outlook given its year-ago gain of 100.
Mining, logging and construction (-20), manufacturing (-10), and transportation, warehousing and utilities (-10) also landed in the December minus column but on the positive side, each gained jobs over the year. Manufacturing rose by 90 jobs to total 1,350, transportation, warehousing and utilities gained 30 jobs over the year to total 240, while mining, logging and construction managed an increase of 10 to total 320.
Private industry employment rose by 380 jobs over the year in Hood River County to total 9,860. In addition to the strong performances of wholesale trade and manufacturing, accommodation and food services served up an over the year gain of 100 to total 1,390. Educational and health services rose by 40 over the year to total 1,830 and financial activities chipped in 20 to reach 310 jobs. Other services suffered the private sector’s only over-the-year loss, falling by 10 to total 310.
Government pulled back slightly in Hood River County, cutting 10 jobs in December to total 1,340. State government managed a gain of 10 jobs in December to total 150, while other local government cut 10 to total 450 and federal government lost 10, falling to 90. Local government education held its own in December with 650 jobs, matching its year-ago total. Federal government fell 10 jobs shy of its year-ago total, other local government also lost 10, while state government held steady.