Message from EDCO’s CEO Jon Stark | November 2023

While unemployment rates are rising ever so slowly, more so in rural areas, monthly job postings in Deschutes County have remained robust, hovering above pre-pandemic levels. The graph below illustrates year-over-year job postings and highlights a significant 23% decrease in August 2023 listings when compared to the previous year, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

Graph depicting year-over-year job postings in Deschutes County

Graph courtesy of Nicole Ramos, Regional Economist for Oregon Employment Department

Amidst these economic shifts, a noteworthy trend emerges: layoffs at factories are occurring across the United States. However, there is a counterbalancing force at play with new investments, expansions and job creation initiatives taking root in food and beverage, semiconductors and clean energy production. This dichotomy underscores the dynamic nature of the job market in the US, but also points to stability in our region given layoffs have been few and far between.

The stability of the region is further evidenced by growing year-over-year employment, with total nonfarm employment up 1,700 individuals over the past 12-months for a total of 107,750 employed Central Oregonian. These gains were specific, however, to Deschutes County. Jefferson County’s gains offset Crook County’s losses of 260 nonfarm employees.

One pressing concern on the horizon is the intersection of an election year and the Federal Reserve’s efforts to combat inflation through rising interest rates. This combination can introduce added uncertainty into the economic landscape, potentially impacting businesses and employment stability. It’s essential to monitor how these external factors affect the local job market.

In the coming year, Central Oregon businesses may find themselves navigating a delicate balance between prudent expense management and fostering revenue growth. This balancing act is crucial to ensure the region’s economic resilience and the well-being of its workforce. Careful economic planning and adaptability will be key in steering through the challenges and capitalizing on the opportunities that lie ahead.

Learn more about the local economic drivers in our 2023 Central Oregon Profiles located on our Communities Page.