Lincoln County’s April unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in many a year – down to 6.5% which is .2% lower than March. The statewide unemployment rate fell to 5.2%, the lowest in many years.
Job growth around the state varied considerably. In the central part of the state (aka Bend) employment for non-farm employment rose 3.5%. In the Willamette Valley non-farm employment rose 2.75%. In the Portland area 2.6%, southern Oregon 2.3%, eastern oregon 1.3% and along the coast a meager .9%. The coast continues to to live up to it’s name as the Appalachia of Oregon.
But Lincoln County did add jobs from April of last year to April of this year. But it lost some too. According to state figures, Lincoln County lost 10 logging jobs, but gained 80 construction jobs. Lincoln County gained manufacturing jobs from April of last year to April of this year, adding 10 jobs. Food manufacturing added 20. But trade jobs that included transportation and utilities lost a whopping 120 jobs over the last year. Retail lost 70, food and beverage gained 40. Financial services gained 10, professional and business services gained 10. Education gained 70, leisure and hospitality gained 10, food and drink 30, state government 20, federal government lost 10 and local government lost 20 jobs from April of last year to April of this year. We’ll let you do the math. But here’s a clue; the net gain was pretty small. About 110 to the good.
Of course, one thing the state employment department doesn’t feature is the average wages being earned today compared to what they were ten years ago – especially when you factor in the value of the dollar and what it buys today compared to 2005. But suffice it to say that REAL wages continue to trail what they were years ago which gives support to what many economists contend is the shrinking of America’s middle class while a small sliver of society does unbelievably well.