By David Bates • Staff Writer • 

Along the Street: Unemployment up slightly

Yamhill County’s unemployment rate increased for the second consecutive month, up to 5 percent from a revised 4.5 rate for June, and with a statewide increase from 4.8 percent to 5.2 percent.

Total non-farm employment decreased by 730 jobs, which was actually less than the 800-job decline that would have been normal for the same reporting period.

The manufacturing sector in Yamhill County has taken a blow over the last year, with a shuttered paper mill in Newberg and layoffs at Cascade Steel Rolling Mills in McMinnville. Over the last twelve months, 540 manufacturing jobs have been lost. Statistics show, however, an uptick from June to July — an increase of 120 jobs. Construction, which typically experiences growth during the summer months, saw an increase of 60 jobs from June to July.

With schools and college still in summer hibernation mode, the education sector saw a decrease of more than 600 jobs.

The county’s employment level remains 2.6 percent higher than its pre-recession employment peak in August 2007.

 

Housing still tight

Yamhill County continues to show a tight housing inventory for homes in the low- to mid-range value, but the options at the higher end continue to expand.

A search of the Regional Multiple Listing Service for Oregon and Southwest Washington conducted this week revealed only 21 homes for sale in Yamhill County in the $180-225,000 range, up three from June. Houses in the so-called “sweet spot” of $200-225,000 remained virtually unchanged at little more than a dozen. 

The higher the price tag, the more homes are available.

RMLS advertised more than 60 homes between $200-300,000. There were more than 170 homes valued at $350-900,000, and an additional 42 for sale for $1 million or more. That compares with fewer than 50 homes for sale valued at $225,000 or less.

RMLS is a Realtor-owned multiple listing service available online at www.rmls.com.

BuildZoom in Mac

An online permit mapping project by the California-based start-up BuildZoom has added McMinnville to its database, allowing the public to access information about every remodeling and construction project in the city. 

The free database provides information about each project for which a permit was acquired from the city’s building department. It includes a summary of the work, how much it cost, and the contractor who was hired. Users may key in a specific address, or filter by project type, dollar amount, year completed, etc.

BuildZoom said in a statment its goal is to bring “transparency and accountability” to the remodeling and construction industry. Nationwide, it includes information on more than 3.5 million licensed contractors and 80 million construction projects.

The local data may be accessed at buildzoom.com/map/mcminnville-or.

 

ODA licensing online

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is removing its core business functions from paper-based systems toward more customer-friendly electronic service. 

That means those who have ODA licenses and permits may renew and pay without having to fill out and mail paperwork. 

The ODA issues 92 different types of licenses, permits and registrations, ranging from pesticide applicators and Christmas tree growers to egg handlers and industrial hemp producers. Overall, the agency handles more than 40,000 individual licenses. 

“It’s gone remarkably well,” said ODA Assistant Director Lauren Henderson. “We started with fairly low expectations but are very happy with the acceptance we have gained by our customers. We hope to continue increasing that acceptance so that everyone who would like to renew online can do so.” 

 

Gas Prices

The price of gasoline in Oregon increased a half cent this week to $2.44 for a gallone of regular unleaded.

Nationwide, the average is $2.18 per gallon, up a nickel over the previous week, as surging crude oil prices and refinery issues put upward pressure on pump prices. 

AAA Oregon/Idaho reports that despite the increase, Oregon pump prices are 40 to 55 cents less than a year ago and are at their lowest for this time of year since 2004.

Barring unforeseen events, the motorist advocacy group says, retail pump prices could dip below $2 per gallon once the summer driving season ends and as many regions shift to cheaper-to-produce winter-blend gasoline.

David Bates is the News-Register’s business editor. He can be reached at dbates@newsregister.com or 503-687-1228.

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