Preliminary estimates from the Oregon Employment Department show the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continued its decline from January to February in the six-county Eastern Oregon region.
Every county except Grant showed the lowest unemployment rate since 2008, but Grant was near its post-recession low.
Officials said Grant County experienced the largest increase in nonfarm payroll employment of the eastern counties, adding 100 jobs over the year.
Both the public and private sectors added jobs, with leisure and hospitality experiencing the largest change, adding 40 jobs.
The county’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February, the latest figure available, was 10.1 percent, unchanged from January. The rate was only slightly better one year earlier, at 10 percent.
Grant County’s non-adjusted rate, while improved from over a year ago, is the highest in the state at 13.8 percent, followed by Wallowa at 12.1 percent and Harney at 10.5 percent.
Other notes from the department’s report on the six-county region:
• Harney County’s nonfarm payroll employment increased by 60 jobs over the year. Job gains were in the private sector as the public sector was unchanged. Strength in goods producing industries and leisure and hospitality largely spurred the growth.
• Baker County experienced over-the-year job losses in nonfarm payroll employment, losing 10 jobs. Job losses in the private sector were partially offset by gains in the public sector. Strength in construction and retail trade were offset by weakness in educational and health services and other services.
• Malheur County experienced over-the-year job losses in nonfarm payroll employment, losing 30 jobs. Losses in the public sector were partially offset by gains in the private sector. Local government experienced the largest change, losing 70 jobs.
• Union County’s nonfarm payroll employment remained virtually unchanged, losing 10 jobs in preliminary estimates. Gains in state government, leisure and hospitality, and educational and health services were offset by weakness in professional and business services and retail trade.
• Wallowa County experienced over-the-year job gains in nonfarm payroll employment, adding 30 jobs. Net gains were in the public sector as the private sector was unchanged. Strength in local government, manufacturing, and professional and business services were partially offset by weakness in leisure and hospitality.