Economist Gives Update For Benton County

Apr 14, 2020

Unemployment claims have spiked in Benton County, just like in much of Oregon. That’s according to a regional economist with the Oregon Employment Department.

Patrick O’Connor briefed local business leaders during an online meeting Tuesday. He said the largest areas of job loss are in hotels, restaurants, and health care.

Credit Greg Keene / Benton County

That last category might be a surprise, considering the state is in a public health crisis. But O’Connor said a lot of non-emergency medical care is being put on hold, which affects all aspects of the health care field. “Even in terms of people billing, you know if procedures aren’t happening, you don’t need people in the billing department. So maybe that’s a bigger loss than people would have expected,” he said.

O’Connor said the overall number of unemployment claims in Benton County increased by tenfold over the past three weeks, compared to the first two-and-a-half months of the year.