'Slow recovery from the recession': LaneCo unemployment at 8%

'Slow recovery from the recession': LaneCo unemployment at 8%
Even two exclamation points aren't enough to find work for all job seekers.

LANE COUNTY, Ore. - Traci Johnston Ruiz can't find a job.
 
“I network, I’m on the computer daily looking for work, and I get an interview every few weeks, but for some reason I’m not catching a job," she said. "I’ve been looking for work since December."

She's not alone: The unemployment rate in Lane County rose slightly in July, up to 8 percent from 7.9 in June, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

One sector lagging in recent years is government employment.
 
The drop in government employment in July can be partly explained due to schools being on vacation. Most non-teachers are taken off payrolls in June.
 
An area that saw a huge amount of growth in jobs was the hospitality/leisure industry. According to the Employment Department, between July 2012 and July 2013, 900 jobs were added. 

Lisa Lawton, Director of Community Relations for Travel Lane County, was excited about the fact that the industry she markets was able to contribute to the economy.
 
“We’re extremely pleased to see such positive job growth in the leisure and hospitality industry," Lawton said. "Clearly, visitors are creating a demand for food service and accommodations.”

Brian Rooney, an economist, believes that while not ideal, the figures need to be put in context.
 
“The unemployment rate at 8 percent is still elevated from what we normally see here in Lane County, which can be anywhere from 5.5-6.5 percent," Rooney said. "This is really a very slow recovery from the recession.”

Officials remain optimistic about future job growth in the region. 

A new area hotel, call center and mental health facility are on the horizon and slated to add jobs, including several high-paying positions.