Economic Stress in Deschutes and Crook Counties - Best Bend Homes for Sale
Lightning over Deschutes County

Economic Stress in Deschutes and Crook Counties

by John and Sandy Kohlmoos on January 16, 2011

Stress in Deschutes and Crook Counties

A recent article in the Bend Bulletin points to Crook and Deschutes counties as having recorded the worst indicators of economic stress in Oregon . . . and some of the highest in the nation, as reported in the latest Associated Press Economic Stress Index (it’s probably more fun to play with the chart than it is to read the rest of the post!).

The index measures all U.S. counties’ economic stress based on their levels of unemployment, bankruptcies and foreclosures. The measurements are based on October numbers, the latest data available when the stress index was created Dec. 13.

Difficulty in Housing and Construction

In addition to getting hit with the collapse of the housing markets and construction industry decline that cut construction employment in Deschutes County and the surrounding area by about two-thirds since December 2007,  Crook County’s stress index also reflects the loss of jobs stemming from lumber mill closures and several hundred jobs associated with the move of Les Schwab’s corporate headquarters from Prineville to Bend.

Before the recession, the construction boom generated all kinds of economic activity and jobs at building-supply stores, restaurants, outdoor stores and other businesses where people in construction and real estate development were spending money. When the construction industry crashed,  it reverberated throughout the economy. Businesses of all kinds had to lay off employees, and some closed their doors.

How Does The Index Work?

The index ranks counties from 1 to 25-plus, based on their unemployment, bankruptcy and foreclosure data, with 1 denoting the least economic stress and 25-plus denoting the highest level of stress, according to the AP statement accompanying the index.

Crook County’s rating of 20.52, up from 6.44 in October 2007, is the highest in Oregon, followed by Deschutes County at 19.54, up from 5.78 in October 2007.

Nationwide Numbers

Nationwide, only a few dozen counties recorded higher economic stress rates, with Imperial County (California) posting the highest stress index at 33.26, followed by Yuma County (Arizona) at 28.72 and Lyon County (Nevada) at 26.32.

Crook County’s unemployment rate was listed at 15.9 percent (October); its foreclosure rate was 2.76 percent of mortgages reported by banks; and the bankruptcy rate was 2.18 percent.

Deschutes County’s second-worst ranking stems from an unemployment rate listed at 13.4 percent (October), foreclosure rate of 4.60 percent and bankruptcy rate of 2.61 percent.

Improving the Region’s Economy?

Views for improving the region’s economy will be presented Jan. 27 at the third annual Central Oregon Economic Forecast, produced by the Center For Economic Research and Forecasting. The event is scheduled to begin with breakfast at 7 a.m. followed by the program at 8 a.m. at the Riverhouse Convention Center in Bend.

It will take time for the economy to recover.

It’s still a great time to be a buyer . . . search anonymously for homes in Bend.

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