By Sherri Buri McDonald
May 24, 2017
Lane County’s unemployment rate has been holding near the record low set in February, according to the latest state Employment Department report released Tuesday.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4 percent in April, virtually unchanged from March, the report said.
While the jobless rate has stayed low, over-the-year job growth in Lane County has started to slow, said Brian Rooney, a labor economist with the department.
“It had been at about 2.5 percent,” he said. In April, “it was 1.7 percent.”
“When you have rapid employment growth it’s hard to maintain that percentage increase” over an extended period, Rooney said.
He said nothing negative on the horizon would suggest a sustained downturn in job growth.
Total nonfarm employment, not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations, rose by 1,100 jobs in April. It was up 2,700 from April 2016 for over-the-year job growth of 1.7 percent. That compares with the overall state growth rate of 2.1 percent in April.
Total nonfarm payroll employment in Lane County was 159,500 in April, up from 158,400 in March.
Lane County showed regular seasonal gains in April.
Ramona Mathany, director of Portland-based All Star Labor & Staffing, recently opened an office in Eugene, at 235 W. 10th Ave. It is her firm’s sixth office. The others are in Portland, Bend, Salem and Albany.
With summer coming and a stronger economy, she anticipates filling many positions for laborers in such industries as construction, landscaping and manufacturing.
Mathany also thinks hospitality in Eugene will be a hot industry for her company.
“In our Portland branch, we find a lot of servers, cooks and baristas,” she said. “We feel in Eugene there’s a lot of great restaurants and caterers and wedding (venues) that we’ll have a good-size hospitality (clientele.)”
In Lane County in April, leisure and hospitality gained 300 jobs, for a total of 17,100.
Retail trade added 200 jobs, for a total of 20,300. Education and health services gained 200, for a total of 25,800. Professional and business services, which includes temporary staffing, added 200, for a total of 17,900. Construction gained 100 for a total of 6,600.
Government lost 400 jobs in April, the report said. A loss of 500 in local government education, which includes the University of Oregon, was countered by a 100 gain in noneducation local government.