MEDFORD, Ore. — Southern Oregon contains some of the strongest job markets in the United States, according to a new report from USA Today. The rankings are largely based on jobs added over a five-year period — plus a few other factors, including growth industries, unemployment rates, and median househould income.
Grants Pass came in at #18 on the list of strongest job markets in the country with a 17.6 percent increase in employment over the past five years. USA Today reports that most of those jobs came from the education and health services industries.
"Not all industries in Grants Pass contributed to growth as the metro area's government sector shed some 500 positions. Still, the metro area's job market is much improved from five years ago," the publication found.
The city's unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in August of this year — a marked improvement over the 10.7 percent reported in August of 2013.
Meanwhile, Medford ranked #28 on USA Today's list, with a 15.4 percent increase in employment over the past five years. Like Grants Pass, most of those jobs came from education and health services.
"Medford is one of several rapidly growing cities in Oregon adding jobs at a faster pace than almost anywhere else in the country. Due in large part to the metro area's education and health services industry, there are over 13,000 more jobs in Medford today than there were in 2013," USA Today said.
Most of the cities among USA Today's Top 31 hailed from the southern or western U.S. — with a particularly strong showing from Oregon. Albany and the greater Portland area both placed, and the greater Bend area reached #2 on the list.
Despite the Rogue Valley's strong showing on the list, Medford and Grants Pass stand out — and not necessarily in a good way. Among the cities listed, both had among the highest reported unemployment rates.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate stood at 3.9 percent in August, while Oregon's unemployment rate reached 3.8 percent. With unemployment rates in August of 5.3 and 4.7 percent respectively, Grants Pass and Medford still have a long way to go before they catch up with the rest of the nation — let alone the state.
In September, 18 counties in Oregon had record low unemployment rates. Crook County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 1.0 percentage point, more than any other county. https://t.co/eXGDUk4ZTX pic.twitter.com/lDb10GS9tV
— Oregon Employment (@ORemployment) October 23, 2018