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LOCAL NEWS: Clatsop County jobless rate soars

LOCAL NEWS: Clatsop County jobless rate soars
New figures from the state employment department show the jobless rate in Clatsop County soared last month surging to 24.4 percent, the second worst rate in Oregon. The drop in tourism-related jobs was the biggest factor, but not the only one. Coast Community Radio’s Jacob Lewin reports:  
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Clatsop County lost more than 60-percent of its leisure and hospitality employment 28-hundred jobs last month. The county lost nearly a quarter of all jobs. Erik Knoder is the state’s regional economist for our area:
erik cut 2“We lost jobs in industries other than leisure and hospitality too. Clatsop got hit because it’s so dependent on leisure and hospitality, but we had job losses in every major industry.” :09
Retail lost 300 jobs, private education and health were down by 260, manufacturing lost 120. Government, including schools, employed one in seven working county residents, and was down 170 but Knoder says expect more:
“Government spending doesn’t cut down as quickly as the private sector does. We don’t respond that fast on employment. So we look for the bigger hits to government to take place in the months ahead.” :12
As bad as a 24 percent plus jobless rate is, Knoder says it’s worse than it appears:
“What we don’t yet, we won’t know for another six months is what’s been the loss of working hours and the loss of wages. That’s going to be a huge one.” :07
But Knoder says the fact that we’re tied with Lincoln as the Oregon county most dependent on tourism, may also be a positive:
“It’s a silver lining to a very dark cloud and that is that leisure and hospitality has the ability to also recover faster and Clatsop is essentially blessed because it is very close to the Portland metro area.” :13
Knoder says hotels that reopened relatively early on the central coast have seen a rapid increase in business. Meanwhile Tillamook County has an 18% jobless rate and Lincoln leads the state with 26 percent unemployed. For Coast Community Radio, I’m Jacob Lewin.