News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters employment holds steady

EDCO (Economic Development of Central Oregon) has released their 2024 employer survey showing the 12 largest employers in Sisters Country. Black Butte Ranch remained at the top of the list with 390 employees, a mix of full and part-time, down from 400 the prior year.

Sisters School District was again number two with 170 employees, down from 175 in 2023.

The Forest Service had the largest gain adding 34 employees in 2024 over 2023, recording 114 in its headcount and ranking third. At fourth place, Sisters Coffee Co. shed 10 employees from the prior year and reported 94.

Right behind them is ESI Solutions who grew their staff from 78 to 87. Both ESI and Sisters Coffee Co. have a workforce that extends beyond Sisters Country, and it is their total headcount that is booked in the report, not just the census in Sisters.

Roth Home, known more locally as Ponderosa Heating & Cooling, ranked sixth with 72 employees. They were omitted in 2023 but the firm says their numbers have increased.

Ray’s Food Place showed a sizable bump from 43 to 56, but they were plagued last year by chronic shortages of staff.

Personalized Nutrients ranks eighth with a gain from 40 to 47, and almost identically Metabolic Maintenance in ninth place grew from 40 to 46. Both firms are still short of their staffing goals.

FivePine Lodge & Conference Center held even at 42 employees. Three Creeks Brewing shed six workers and in this year’s count they report 37.

Sisters Athletic Club rounded out the top 12 adding two workers for a total of 37. In all, the top 12 (adjusted for Roth Home being overlooked in 2023) added just 40 employees.

Numbers change day to day, but in the last week job hiring boards list about 60 job openings in Sisters with only one above $30/hour and the vast majority in the $18 to $22/hour range. More than half are in food service.

This is a stark change from a year ago when some two dozen jobs were listed in April paying at least $40/hour.

Food and hospitality continue to struggle to attract workers. The city reports a drop in first quarter lodging taxes of 20 percent, which matches the sentiment of local merchants who say tourist shopping is down since January 1.


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