Karen Richards

Elected officials and Chamber of Commerce leaders gathered in Eugene today (Thursday) to recognize a company that's hired 250 people in just four months. FirstSource Solution plans to more than double that number in its next phase.

The Mumbai-based company signed a 10-year lease on the Chad Drive property. FirstSource provides online chat support for a large telecommunications company. Chris Autrey is the Site Director. He says even though the Eugene area has several other customer support centers, his company hasn't had difficulty finding workers:


The Eugene Water and Electric Board will host the construction and utilities career fair Thursday for Lane County high school students. 

More than 500 Lane County high school students will have the opportunity to work in construction, utility trade and road maintenance for a day. Joe Harwood, spokesman for EWEB says the idea is to inspire young people to pursue this kind of career.

The state employment department reported Tuesday Oregon's unemployment rate rose last month to 7.2 percent.
State Labor Economist Nick Belieciks:

Belieciks: "The unemployment rate increase in August wasn’t caused by more people losing their jobs. It had to do with a large increase in Oregon's labor force. This can happen because of faster population growth or when more people start looking for work because they feel their job prospects are improving."

U of O News

The big data conversation comes to Eugene this weekend. The U of O is hosting a “Big Opportunities with Big Data” meeting Friday.

According to the International Data Corporation, this year, the world will store over two zettabytes of data, or the equivalent of 36 million years of HD video. If those numbers are hard to comprehend, that’s the point. It’s hard for traditional analytical methods to deal with. Andy Berglund is Dean of U of O’s grad school. He’s been giving a lot of incoming freshmen the same advice:

Angela Kellner

Management at the Springfield Plywood and Veneer Mill began meeting individually with its employees Tuesday.  The mill burned down last week, putting 250 people out of work.  The owners are offering two possible employment alternatives at mills in Roseburg and Glendale.

Chuck Wert is the chief operating officer of Swanson Group, which owns the mill.

Wert: "As I understand it we spoke with around 60 employees today and about 40 of them that say they are interested in looking at the other job opportunities we have for them in Roseburg and Glendale."

Number Of Lane County Unemployed Ticks Up

Jul 21, 2014
Angela Kellner

The number of unemployed people in Lane County increased by more than 650 between May and June.  The unemployment rate remained the same at 6.8%.

But that could change in July, after this month's mill fire in Springfield.

Oregon Regional Economist Brian Rooney says Lane County has been in a period of positive employment growth.  But he calls the unemployment numbers for June…

Rooney: "A little bit of a step back."

The luxury RV industry took a hit in the recession but things are looking up.  Marathon Coaches just announced it will be hiring at its Coburg location.

Steve Schoelhorn is President and Owner of Marathon. He says the jobs are in exterior paint, production and service.

Schoelhorn: "We are looking to hire about 25 people in the next 90 days if we can and then look to grow our production and our service operations further as the market allows but without a doubt the trend is on the uptick."

Angela Kellner

Since the great recession, job security has been elusive. One bright spot is the health care field. Lane Community College in Eugene offers training programs to help students land well-paying jobs in the health care industry, including dental care. Lane recently opened a new dental clinic on Willamette Street where students can learn by treating patients.

Rural Development Initiatives

Outdoor enthusiasts in Oregon will soon have another venue for their passion. Today (Monday) kicks off a project to link Sweet Home to the Willamette National Forest through a public access trail system.

About 36 private and public entities are coming together to launch the South Santiam River Corridor Project. They will commit to creating 12 miles of trails paralleling Highway 20. Sweet Home City Manager Craig Martin says the forest project will create jobs:

Employers Struggle To Fill Vacant Positions

Mar 7, 2014
Oregon Employment Department

Employers in Northwest Oregon and the Willamette Valley had a difficult time filling vacant positions in 2013. At any given time there were 8,000 vacancies, according to an Oregon Employment Department survey.

More than two-thirds of these vacancies did not require more than a high school education and offered an hourly wage of more than ten dollars. Many of these vacancies were for farm workers, meat and fish cutters, and home health care aides.

Regional Labor Economist Brian Rooney: