Unemployment rose in Benton County during initial COVID-19 lockdown

General Corvallis City Section Graphic

The Baro Staff

Benton County saw a moderate rise in unemployment claims during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown—compared to other counties in the area—data shows.

Data from the State of Oregon employment department shows that the unemployment rate in the Corvallis, Oregon metropolitan statistical area was 10.2% in the month of May 2020.

While this was up from 3.1% from May of 2019, Corvallis’ unemployment rate is much lower than other areas in Northwest Oregon. Lincoln County reported an unemployment rate of 23.7% for the month of May 2020, up from 4.4% in May of 2019.

The unemployment rate for the month of June shows that it is dropping again as things get back to normal, with Corvallis falling to 8.3% unemployment.

Data further shows that retail and food services were hit the hardest by recent layoffs.

According to Patrick Rollens, the Public Information Officer for the City of Corvallis, the city has taken several steps to assist residents facing hardship.

“The city sets aside $360,000 each year for grants to social service agencies serving vulnerable populations in Corvallis,” Rollens said. “The city also has a low income assistance program funded primarily through donations on your utility bill, and the City Council voted on July 20 to expand this program to assist people experiencing economic hardship.”

More information about the City of Corvallis’ Low Income Assistance Program can be found on the city’s website.

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