No Bend rebound in sight

While others see glimmers of economic recovery, Bend still struggles with 14% unemployment and no signs of improvement.

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Despite talk of an economic recovery elsewhere, Bend’s unemployment rate remains dismal at 14%, higher than the 11% state average and the 10% national average.

Many believe Bend’s recession is even worse this winter than the last because almost everyone knows someone who is struggling, and some have accepted the fact that a recovery may never return.

More than 500 people seeking government assistance crowded the lobby at the state Department of Human Services office near downtown on the first Monday in January. Meanwhile, a local nonprofit that helps people pay their rent could run out of money for that program by February.

“We thought it was bad last winter. It doesn’t hold a candle to what we’re seeing this year,” says Corky Senecal with Neighbor Impact in Bend.

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