Lincoln County remains stuck in the mid-7% unemployment range – 7.7% for the month of November. About 17-hundred residents can’t find work. However, tourism is now back up to about where it was before the recession started – the happy, heady days of 2006. Since then the claw-back of jobs has been painfully slow. About the only notable job growth areas appear to be in the “accommodations” sector (higher income), and in private education and, of course, health care. All other job categories seem rather anemic according to state figures.
One factor that the state mentioned this month was the depressive effects of higher gas prices along the coast – Lincoln County especially. When people in Portland and the valley know that gasoline prices are 40 to 75 cents a gallon higher, enough would-be tourists simply don’t make the trip. It’ll be interesting to see if that notable observation might get the state attorney general’s office interested in investigating why the coast is singled out for high prices when other parts of Oregon, even though much farther from gas supply centers, enjoy considerably lower prices.