UMATILLA COUNTY – Umatilla County’s unemployment rate fell 0.2 percent in September at 5 percent. That puts the county in 14th place, tied with Jackson. Over the year, the jobless rate has fallen a total of 1.2 percentage points.
Oregon Employment Department Regional Economist Dallas Fridley said he hopes everyone appreciated the news from last month, because that was as good as it gets.
“In terms of our peak this year, we’ve hit it,” Fridley said. “This is probably our high point until next September when, hopefully, we’ll add more jobs and get closer back to regaining all those jobs we lost in the COVID pandemic.”
September is historically a good month for Umatilla County with harvest, teachers returning to their classrooms, and the Pendleton Round-Up bringing visitors. Leisure and hospitality led the private industry job growth, rising by 310 jobs. Meanwhile, in the public sector local government education rose by 600 jobs with the start of a new school year.
Fridley said one thing that could negatively impact employment are future pandemic-inspired mandates.
“It’s hard to predict too much in this day and age,” he said. “As long as the mandates continue to ease up on us, hopefully, that won’t be a cause for any continued job loss and we can continue to recover.”