Employment Claims Show Greatest Economic Damage on Oregon’s Coast and for Less Educated Workers

Three of the hardest-hit four counties, as measured by layoffs as a percentage of workforce—Lincoln, Clatsop and Coos—are on the coast.

Roberts Bookshop, Lincoln City. (Thomas Teal)

Unemployment patterns from the COVID-19 pandemic are bearing out what policymakers have long said: A diversified economy and well-educated workforce are crucial to Oregon's success.

A new report from the Oregon Employment Department shows that the coast, which is heavily dependent on tourism, has suffered the most in terms of layoffs as a percentage of workforce. Three of the hardest-hit four counties—Lincoln, Clatsop and Coos—are on the coast.

The report, which examines unemployment filings for the five weeks ending April 18, also looked at the educational level of those losing their jobs and what industries suffered the most.

Employment Department economist Damon Runberg also found that Oregonians who completed no more than a high school diploma got laid off at about twice their level of participation in the job market, while those with college degrees got laid off at about half their level of participation.

People who lost their jobs, of course, disproportionately worked in industries such as travel, hospitality and nonessential services that were shut down by Gov. Kate Brown's March 23 "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order. Here's what the industry breakdown looks like:

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