Oregon’s labor force continues to shrink despite a dropping unemployment rate. A new state study shows, for the first time, the labor force participation rate in different counties.
The state study looks at where people are actively looking for work, and where they dropped out of the labor force in the year 2012.
Hood River, Sherman, and Gilliam counties top the list with the most active labor forces. Douglas, Josephine, and Curry counties have the least active labor forces.
Guy Tauer is a State Employment Economist in southern Oregon.
“It’s related to the economic working conditions as well, too. We have had some counties that have historically higher unemployment rates than the statewide average. And with employment prospects not as robust here, then you may have more people that are simply just not looking for work or participating in the labor force.”
Tauer says the southwest region of the state also has an older workforce, and more people live in those areas who are past the typical working age.
State figures show about 63 percent of Oregon’s total population is working or looking for work.