Mid-winter jobs reports improve
LONG BEACH and ASTORIA — Pacific County posted its best mid-winter job numbers in December since 2006, according to the most recent report by the Washington State Employment Security Department.
The county’s December jobless rate was 8.5 percent and 7,630 people were employed. Despite lack of clamming and crabbing, that was the lowest unemployment level since 2006 and the highest number of jobs for the month since 2009. The county jobless rate remains high by statewide standards, among the top third of the state’s 39 counties.
Washington’s unemployment rate dropped for the fifth month in a row to hit a new low of 5.2 percent in December, the best it has been since May 2008, according to the ESD.
Clatsop County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in December, a decrease from 5.0 percent in November and 5.2 percent in December 2015.
Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent in December, from 5.0 percent in November. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December, down from 5.3 percent in December 2015. Oregon’s jobless rate and its decline over the year are comparable with the U.S.
Clatsop leads coast for personal income
ASTORIA — Clatsop County had Oregon’s 13th highest per-person personal income in 2015, according to a Jan. 31 report by the Research Division of the Oregon Employment Department.
Clatsop’s personal income was $40,238, somewhat less than the state average of $43,783, which is inflated by higher incomes in the counties of the Willamette Valley and Columbia Gorge. Clatsop’s total was the highest on the Oregon coast.
Clatsop’s total is comprised of $21,953 in personal earnings, $10,461 in transfer payments such as Social Security, and $7,864 in dividends, rents and interest payments. This compares to statewide averages of $26,467, $8,861 and $8,455.
Oregon ranked 29th in the U.S. in 2015 and was 91 percent of the national average, $48,112, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In Oregon, 2015 personal income increased by 5.0 percent from 2014, faster than the nationwide growth rate of 3.7 percent. In 2005, Oregon’s personal income was $32,421 and ranked 32nd in the nation.
Many retirements coming up soon
ASTORIA and LONG BEACH — The Oregon Employment Department reported in January that Clatsop County has 4,290 workers who are age 55 and older, or 27 percent of the workforce, which is the average for rural Oregon counties. The overall state average is 23 percent.
The most-recent comparable statistic in Pacific County is 29.2 percent, or about 2,200 workers. These figures are important because all these workers are heading toward retirement and will need to be replaced within the next decade or so.
U.S. House OKs crab bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 30 passed a bipartisan bill to permanently extend a decades-old fishery management agreement that has been vital to Washington state’s Dungeness crab fishery. The bill passed by a vote of 388-0 and was co-sponsored in the House by U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash.
Washington, Oregon, and California cooperatively manage the West Coast crab fishery in federal waters under a tri-state agreement that Congress first authorized in 1998. The bill would make that existing authority permanent. The agreement expired without a replacement in 2016. The new legislation still must pass in the Senate, where U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is leading the bill.
Washington state’s Dungeness crab industry brings $61 million into the state’s economy annually. Crab fishermen in the state harvest an average of 9.5 million pounds of crab per year, supporting more than 60,000 maritime jobs. It’s important in Oregon, too, with more than 8.8 million pounds landed so far this season through Jan. 27, valued at about $26 million at an average price per pound to crabbers of $2.91, according to Undercurrent News.
State marijuana receipts dip
SALEM — Oregon marijuana tax collections declined 12.6 percent in December 2016 compared to November and were off nearly 28 percent from October, as dispensaries struggled to obtain products in compliance with state testing requirements.
The total collected for 2016 was about $60.15 million, according to the Oregon Department of Revenue Research Section.
Clatsop Community Bank reports good year
SEASIDE — Clatsop Community Bank reported a net profit in 2016 of $515,000, or $0.48 per diluted share, compared to net profit of $548,000, or $0.51 per diluted share in 2015. The bank reported a good fourth quarter, with a net profit of $121,000 or $0.11 per diluted share, compared to $78,000 and $0.07 per diluted share for the same quarter in 2015.
“We’re pleased to report our sixth consecutive profitable year,” President and CEO Joe Schulte said in a press release. “We continue to grow despite an unfavorable interest rate environment, high compliance burden and competitive pressures.”
The bank had total assets of $85.7 million as of Dec. 31, an increase of $7.7 million, or 9.87 percent, compared to $78 million in assets a year earlier.
Loans, net of unearned income, increased $3.4 million to $54.8 million as of Dec. 31, up 6.61 percent compared to $51.4 million a year earlier.
“Loan growth was challenging in 2016 due to intense market competition. Loan growth for the year tracked closely with the national growth rate for community banks of our size,” said Chief Credit Officer Cindy Trask.
BOP reports strong mortgage lending
ABERDEEN — Pacific Financial Corp., holding company for Bank of the Pacific, last month reported net income increased 18 percent to $6.6 million, or $0.63 per share, in 2016, compared to $5.6 million, or $0.54 per share, for 2015.
The bank’s 2016 profitability was attributed by continued loan growth, stable net interest margin and increased non-interest income, according to a press release.
“The commercial lending teams located in our newer markets contributed significantly to loan growth. Revenue from our residential real estate mortgage operation continued to be strong, up 43 percent for the quarter versus the fourth quarter in 2015,” said Denise Portmann, president and chief executive officer.