Jackson and Josephine County unemployment numbers above state average

MEDFORD, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Employment released local unemployment numbers for April, May 27. They show just how much our economy has suffered during this pandemic.

“It’s gonna take the pandemic to end before the economy can really bounce back fully,” said Guy Tauer from Oregon Department of Employment.

We’re seeing for the first time how coronavirus has hurt Jackson and Josephine County’s economy. Jackson County went from 4.7% unemployment in March to 16.1% in April. Josephine County fared only slightly better, going from 5.2% to 15.5%.

“It doesn’t take someone with an actual PhD probably in economics to make the presumption we have slid into a recession at this point,” said Tauer.

Tauer says the unemployment numbers weren’t this bad even during the Great Recession. Locally, the hardest hit sector of our economy has been leisure and hospitality.

“We see our friends on Facebook waving to us from the Oregon Coast. People on the Oregon Coast are coming to Southern Oregon to recreate here and shop here to the extend that they can,” said Brad Hicks, President and CEO, Chamber of Medford and Jackson County.

Hicks says Jackson County businesses are adjusting to the new normal.

“It’s really difficult for us to know the full impact that the coronavirus is gonna have or is having on the economy. I think it’s gonna be weeks and months and years before the real tale of the tape can be told,” said Hicks.

Even though things are bleak right now, Tauer says many jobs will return.

“It’s just a question of how quickly we’ll get to kinda back to where we were before. And how consumers will behave as well,” said Tauer.

Last week the state released statewide numbers. Both Jackson and Josephine County were above the statewide average.

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