Benton County continued to have Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (6.5%) in August, while Crook County continued to post the highest rate (14.3%). Fifteen of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 8.9 percent. Unemployment rates declined between August 2011 and August 2012 in all but three Oregon counties. The rate rose by 0.9 percentage point in Gilliam County, while Morrow (+0.1 point) and Grant (+0.2 point) counties each had smaller increases over the year. Wheeler County saw the largest improvement in its unemployment rate, with a decline of 2.5 percentage points.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in five of Oregon’s six broad regions between August 2011 and August 2012. Southern Oregon (+1.6%) and Portland (+1.4%) posted the largest gains over the year. Smaller gains occurred in the Willamette Valley (+0.5%), Eastern Oregon (+0.5%), and along the Oregon coast (+0.2%). Job losses were recorded for the combined Central Oregon counties