Unemployment rates continue to fall

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage point in January to 7.0 percent. Compared with January 2013, Oregon’s unemployment rate fell by 1.3 percentage points over the year.

Hood River County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was little changed in January, falling by 0.2 percentage point to 5.4 percent, good enough to rank as Oregon’s second lowest county rate, right behind first place Benton County’s 5.3 percent. Compared with January 2013, Hood River County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by 1.2 percentage points.

January job losses impacted each of the five counties that comprise the Columbia Gorge region. Hood River County highlighted January losses, falling by 390 jobs.

Hood River County’s January losses in retail trade eliminated 310 jobs and dropped the industry’s total to 1,180. Retail trade hits its seasonal peak in December and January typically represents its seasonal low. The accommodation and food services sector also pulled back in January, with a loss of 80 dropping its total to 1,270. On the upside, the accumulation of snow is a welcome event for the arts, entertainment and recreation sector, which rose by 160 jobs in January to total 990.

Throughout 2013, Wasco County led the Columbia Gorge region with an over-the-year increase of 320 jobs. A strong performance by private industry boosted its total in Wasco County to 7,540 with 350 jobs gained. The manufacturing sector stood out for its over-the-year gain of 140 job and the educational and health services sector also impressed with an increase of 80.

Hood River County’s nonfarm total rose by 90 jobs over the year, with an increase of 120 jobs in private industry offsetting an over-the-year loss of 30 in government. The manufacturing sector proved to be Hood River County’s growth sector, rising by 160 jobs over the year to total 1,410. The professional and business services sector cut 70 jobs over the year and the arts, entertainment and recreation sector also fell 70 jobs shy of last year’s total.

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