Looking at the size of the workforce by age group, Oregon appears to have enough younger workers to fill in behind the first wave of retirements. Oregon's workforce has about 337,500 workers ages 55 and older. Right behind them are the approximately 351,000 younger baby boomer workers between the ages of 45 and 54. The next cohort of nearly 348,000 Generation Xish workers in the 35 to 44 age category is smaller, but the nearly 361,000 Generation Yish workers between the ages of 25 and 34 will help bolster the workforce.
Opportunities will be created for younger workers as employers promote to replace retirees. It is likely that workers will be promoted more quickly than in the past and employers will have to work harder when hiring and training new workers, in order to replace the experience and institutional knowledge they're losing to retirement.
Projected growth and replacement job openings by broad occupational group are shown in Graph 2. Service occupations will have the most openings through 2022, but of the 136,000 expected openings, 63 percent will be due to replacement needs. In fact, most job openings in nearly all occupational groups will be from replacements as more workers enter retirement. Only the construction and extraction occupational group is expected to have more openings due to growth than due to replacement openings.
The pace of coming retirements will vary depending on the industry sector and we can get an indication of the impacts by looking at the number and percent of workers ages 55 and over in each sector (Table 1). For instance, utilities and mining have a high concentration of older boomers, but they employ a relatively small number of workers and will require relatively few replacement workers.
The industries that stand out in sheer size and share of workers 55 and over are health care and social assistance (both private and public) and educational services (again, both private and public). Employers in these and in all other industries need to plan for how they are going to attract replacement workers, especially for jobs that require significant training.
Utilities has the Highest Share of Workers 55 and Over,
Health Care and Social Assistance Will Need the Most Replacement Workers
|Workers of All Ages||Workers Ages 55 and Over||Percent Ages 55 and Over|
|Mining, Quarrying, Oil and Gas Extraction||1,619||486||30%|
|Real Estate and Rental and Leasing||24,836||7,108||29%|
|Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting||42,725||11,711||27%|
|Transportation and Warehousing||52,216||14,262||27%|
|Health Care and Social Assistance||231,044||56,307||24%|
|Management of Companies and Enterprises||33,591||7,335||22%|
|Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services||79,097||16,718||21%|
|Finance and Insurance||57,004||12,026||21%|
|Administrative, Support and Waste Services||91,596||17,064||19%|
|Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation||26,888||4,981||19%|
|Accommodation and Food Services||150,346||18,384||12%|
|Private and public average employment for 1st Quarter 2013 and prior three quarters.|
|Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Local Employment Dynamics|
The extreme examples are Wheeler and Wallowa counties, where one-third of workers are 55 or older. Wheeler County has about 307 payroll workers at private businesses or working for state and local governments in the county, and about 105 are in the 55 and over age group. The next youngest age group of 45 to 54 year olds has 73 workers, and the 35 to 44 group has just 52. It may be a challenge to keep the same level of economic activity going in Wheeler County unless new workers can be attracted into the area.
Although older workers are a smaller share of the workforce in more urban areas, there are a lot more of them. Multnomah County alone has more workers over the age of 55 than all of rural Oregon combined. No area of the state will avoid the effects of retiring boomers.