Oregon’s unemployment rate continued to drop, ending 2013 with 6.9 percent of Oregonians without a job. However, this has yet to trickle down to Curry County, which still has naggingly high unemployment rate of 10.3 percent.
That number is down, however, from last year, when 11.3 percent of residents were unemployed. However, the decrease has not translated into more jobs in Curry County.
The county lost 220 jobs in December, with leisure and hospitality down 110 jobs, construction down 40 jobs and business services down 20 jobs.
Overall for the year, Curry County has 90 fewer jobs than it did in 2012, continuing the trend of lower numbers of employment in the county. There were 150 fewer jobs in Curry County in December 2013 than in December 2012, a 2.5 percent decrease.
Curry County’s unemployment rate has been above the state average for many years, reaching as high as 15 percent in February 2009. Since then, unemployment has slowly decreased, but is still much higher than the state and national average.
These local trends go against what is happening at the state level. A recently released report from the U.S. Department of Labor placed Oregon among the fastest states producing new jobs in 2013. Oregon was ranked third, behind North Dakota and Florida. But this growth is happening mostly in the population centers in the Willamette Valley, with Portland, Salem and Eugene recovering while rural Oregon continues to post high unemployment numbers.
Fewer jobs and still high unemployment has been coupled with a decrease in the money people are taking home in their paychecks.
The median household income in Curry County decreased from nearly $40,000 in 2011 to almost $35,000 in 2012. This is well below the national ($51,371) and state ($49,000) averages.