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10-Year Occupational Projections Show Variety in Oregon's Economy
by Brenda Turner
Published Apr-22-2014

The good news is there will be a variety of job opportunities in Oregon's economy during the next decade. As far as bad news, there really isn't much to report.

According to the Employment Department's occupational employment projections, a solid 653,000 job openings are projected from 2012 to 2022, with 258,000 of these being new jobs created during this period. The remaining 391,000 job openings are due to the need to replace workers who retire or leave their occupations for other reasons. The projected 15.3 percent growth rate is much stronger than the 6 percent growth seen during the past decade.

Although not brand new, several economic trends surfaced in the occupational employment projections. Health care, influenced by the aging population, is expected to see continued strong growth during the coming decade; construction remains on the rebound from the Great Recession; and baby boomers are starting to retire with many more to follow, also creating job openings.

Service Occupations Lead the Way
Service occupations - which include jobs in protective services, food services, building and grounds maintenance, personal care, entertainment, and funeral services - are on top, with more than 278,000 jobs in 2012 and 135,000 job openings expected during the decade (Table 1). While many service jobs are low-wage, low-education jobs, professional and related occupations, second on the list of total openings, are weighted towards high-wage, higher-education jobs. Professional and related includes computer occupations, engineers, scientists, and teachers, among others. These two diverse occupational groups topping the list demonstrates the overall variety in the state's employment.

Table 1
Oregon Occupational Employment Projections,  2012-2022
Employment   Change   Openings
Occupational Group 2,012 2,022 Employment Percent Growth  Replacement Total
Service 278,684 328,718   50,034 18.0%   50,151 85,767 135,918
Professional and Related 275,206 316,636   41,430 15.1%   41,531 57,736 99,267
Office and Administrative Support 262,782 294,706   31,924 12.1%   33,462 56,177 89,639
Sales and Related 170,771 193,313   22,542 13.2%   22,626 49,718 72,344
Management, Business, and Financial 157,916 183,279   25,363 16.1%   25,454 32,033 57,487
Health Care 129,125 155,220   26,095 20.2%   26,095 25,671 51,766
Transportation and Material Moving 119,382 133,875   14,493 12.1%   14,493 27,892 42,385
Production 107,665 120,965   13,300 12.4%   13,531 22,120 35,651
Construction and Extraction 58,708 74,062   15,354 26.2%   15,354 9,839 25,193
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair 61,723 70,199   8,476 13.7%   8,511 14,506 23,017
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry 39,501 46,701   7,200 18.2%   7,382 10,465 17,847
Nonclassifiable 21,857 24,038   2,181 10.0%   2,181 0 2,181
Total All Occupations 1,683,320 1,941,712   258,392 15.4%   260,771 391,924 652,695
Replacement Outweighs Growth
Health care and construction are the only two broad occupational groups with more job openings due to growth than replacement needs (Graph 1). All other categories will see more openings due to the need to replace workers, including retiring workers, many of whom postponed retirement during the recession but are retiring now or in the near future. In general, lower-wage, lower-education occupations, such as many service occupations, have higher levels of replacement openings due to the nature of the employment in these jobs - generally entry level positions used as a stepping stone by many on their individual career ladder.

Graph 1
Growth vs. replacement job openings in Oregon 2012-2022
Fastest Growing Occupations
There will be openings in almost all of the 717 occupations with projected employment data. While many of the occupations with the most job openings fall into the lower-wage, lower-skill service occupations category, more diversity exists when looking at the fastest growing occupations. Those with the strongest growth rates (focusing on occupations with 500 or more employment) are not just construction and health care jobs (Table 2).

Trends in individual occupations impact growth. For example, demand for market research analysts is expected to increase as more analysts are needed to better guide advertising for specific audiences. Meeting, convention and event planners' demand is projected to increase as the technology used during meetings, such as video conferencing, becomes more complex. Also, increased globalization and more businesses recognizing the value of professionally planned meetings is expected to push demand higher. And multimedia artists and animators jobs are expected to be on the rise as special effects hardware and software are used more frequently.

Only a handful of occupations are expected to decline from 2012 to 2022. They are focused in postal jobs as the federal postal system cuts back; occupations related to changes in technology, such as motion picture projectionists and utilities meter readers; and some related to changes in our society that shift how we live, such as jobs related to publishing materials in print formats.

Table 2
Fastest Growing Occupations in Oregon With More Than 500 Employed, 2012-2022
Standard Occupational Classification Title 2012 Employment Percent Change
Roofers 1,963 39.5%
Physician Assistants 931 38.7%
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists 2,390 37.8%
Painters, Construction and Maintenance 3,306 37.0%
Physical Therapist Aides 605 36.5%
Medical Equipment Repairers 592 36.3%
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners 889 36.2%
Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers 1,130 36.2%
Pest Control Workers 892 36.1%
Personal Financial Advisors 869 34.9%
Multimedia Artists and Animators 645 34.3%
Nonfarm Animal Caretakers 2,218 34.1%
Comp-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic 2,019 34.0%
Home Health Aides 7,101 33.8%
Interpreters and Translators 833 33.3%
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers 1,620 33.0%
Industrial Machinery Mechanics 3,723 32.9%
Logging Equipment Operators 2,112 32.6%
Carpenters 9,124 32.6%
Physical Therapist Assistants 582 32.0%
Low, Medium, or High Wage
Half of the job openings from 2012 to 2022 are expected to be medium- or high-wage jobs, paying an average of more than $35,000 per year (Graph 2). These jobs are concentrated in five broad occupational categories including a couple of areas that might come as a surprise: installation, maintenance and repair; and construction and extraction occupations. Low wages dominate three groups: service, office and administrative support, and sales and related.

Graph 2
Oregon job openings by wage 2012-2022
Of the 653,000 job openings expected from 2012 to 2022, 216,000 have some post-secondary education as the level most workers need to enter an occupation. The remaining openings have high school education or less as the typical education level needed for entry. Remember, the lower-wage service occupations topped the list of occupations with the most openings.

Switching from entry to competitive education, about 55 percent of the openings require post-secondary education for applicants to be competitive - a level of education needed to stand out among job applicants. The competitive education level is a step beyond the typical level needed for entry, and will help job seekers compete for jobs, especially when the economy is contracting and competition for jobs heats up.

Additional Information
Every two years, the Oregon Employment Department updates long-term employment projections to account for changes in the economy. The 2012 to 2022 statewide projections cover 97 industries and 717 occupations.

All statewide and regional employment projections are available at QualityInfo.org. Select a region from the map at the top-right of the home page, then look under the Publications tab for the region to find industry and occupation projections to 2022.

This article marks the second in a two-part series highlighting employment trends. Last month, an article focused on industry projections and provided additional insight on industry employment trends.