Local News Digest – Oregon Unemployment;Port Manager; Gas Prices; PUD office

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Oregon Jobless Numbers Holding Steady…

Oregon’s Job market is stuck in neutral.  After reaching a high of 11.6% 16 months ago, the unemployment rate has been at just over nine-and-a-half percent since May of this year.

Nick Beleiciks– “We saw a lot of improvement in the unemployment rate, and it has come down from where it was last year, but the dropping unemployment rate really stopped in May and it’s essentially been flat since then.” (Click to listen)

Nick Beleickiks, State Unemployment Economist

Nic Beleiciks (beh-LAY-checks) is the State Employment Economist.  The Oregon Employment Department announced the latest jobless figures yesterday.  There were some gains in non-farm private employment, but losses in the public sector offset them.

Nick Beleiciks – “Well the unemployment rate didn’t change at all in September. It remained at 9.6% like it was in August and that’s similar to the national situation where the unemployment rate remains steady at 9.1%.” (click to listen)

Beleiciks said the overall number of jobs available in Oregon has grown.  But, he adds, the size of the workforce has also increased at the same pace, keeping the unemployment rate the same.

Port offers job

An offer of employment has been made to one of the five finalists for the open Port of Siuslaw Manager’s position.  Port Commission President John Buchanan said as of yesterday afternoon they still hadn’t had a response and that was making him “a little nervous”.

He declined to identify the potential new hire, but said the man was from Virginia.  A formal announcement is expected tonight at the Commission’s regular monthly meeting.  Buchanan says if the offer is declined, they’ll extend a backup offer to the number two.

Gas Prices on the Rise

After spending much of the month of September moving downward, average gas prices are headed back up.  The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded increased by three cents locally to $3.75 this week, while Oregon’s average price, as measured by Triple-A, added four cents and is at $3.78.

The national average price is considerably lower, but it increased seven cents in seven days to $3.47 a gallon.  Two states have average prices above four dollars… Hawaii and Alaska.  Oregon’s average is fifth highest… South Carolina boast the cheapest average at $3.26.

PUD Office Closing for Billing Upgrade

If you have business to take care of with Central Lincoln PUD in Florence you better do it today.  Beginning tomorrow and running through next Tuesday the Florence office will be closed as the electric utility converts its 38-thousand customer billing system.

Customer Service Supervisor Irene King says there is no other alternative than to close, but said it’s the most efficient method.  Payments can still be made at the drop box or at the pay station at Siuslaw Bank in Mapleton.  They’ll reopen next Wednesday.