Unemployment in Lincoln County rose .2% in September – the drag on the rate came largely from the tourist accommodation sector – maids, cooks, desk help, etc.
State employment office researchers say that service tourism wages have been flat for a long time which may account for some of the increase in joblessness. Two major local Newport area hoteliers were asked what they were seeing and both said that they offered slightly higher hourly rates but it didn’t work – even higher rates were nixed by their corporate owners. Both said they could have hired more workers but couldn’t attract employable candidates. Many applicants failed drug tests, dressed unsatisfactorily, lacked good customer service skills and still others had poor attitudes. State officials say that Lincoln County may be at an economic set-point where 7% unemployment is their baseline – at least for now.