2022-2032 Projections Show Broad-Based Employment Growth in the Mid-Valley

by Pat O'Connor

January 29, 2024

The Mid-Valley Workforce Area (Linn, Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties) will add more than 28,500 jobs between 2022 and 2032. This represents a 10% increase in employment over 10 years. The growth stems from anticipated private-sector gains of nearly 25,000 jobs (11%) and the addition of 2,500 jobs (5%) in government. This projected 10% growth rate is slower than the 22% growth seen over the past decade in the Mid-Valley. One reason for the slower 10% growth compared to the 22% growth in the prior decade is that in 2012 the Mid-Valley’s employment was not too far from the 2011 employment lows that occurred during the Great Recession. Growing from a low point in the business cycle is a big reason the Mid-Valley showed such fast employment growth from 2012 to 2022.

Beyond gains from economic growth, an additional 351,000 job openings will be created by 2032 as workers change occupations or leave for other reasons, such as retirement.

The 2022 to 2032 employment projections bring together several ongoing trends over the past few years as well as new ones resulting from the COVID-19 recession.  A fast-growing health care sector has been taking place for a number of years, due in part to an aging population. However, health care is showing slower projected growth than has been projected in recent years. Another long-term trend is public sector employment growing more slowly than private sector employment. A newer trend is fast job growth in the leisure and hospitality sector as it continues to recover from the COVID-19 recession.

Industry Projections

There will be job growth in all the broad private-sector industries by 2032.

Graph showing Mid-Valley Employment Growth 2022-2032

The region’s private education and health services is projected to add the most jobs (+7,400 jobs). In addition to adding the most jobs, private education and health services will also be the second fastest growing sector, growing 16% over the decade.

Within the trade, transportation, and utilities sector the fastest growth is projected within transportation, warehousing, and utilities which is projected to add 2,700 jobs or 23% growth from 2022 to 2032.

The fastest growing sector is leisure and hospitality, which is projected to add 3,800 jobs or 17% growth from 2022 to 2032.

The region’s construction sector is projected to grow 15% over the decade, faster than the Mid-Valley’s total employment growth rate. The sector is projected to add 2,700 jobs over the decade.

Occupational Projections

Between 2022 and 2032, there will be job openings in all occupations in the Mid-Valley.

Economic diversity in the Mid-Valley Workforce Area is demonstrated by the two different broad occupational categories projected to have the most job openings in the region: service occupations (83,000 openings), and transportation and material moving occupations (40,400 openings). Service occupations includes jobs as varied as emergency services, pest control workers, and fast-food cooks. It includes many occupations that were most impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Transportation and material moving occupations include truck drivers, bus drivers, and stockers and order fillers.

Table showing Occupations with the Most Job Openings in the Mid-Valley: 2022-2032

Health care occupations are some of the fastest growing occupations, driven in large part by the aging population. Nurse practitioners, physical therapist assistants, and physician assistants are among the fastest growing occupations in the region. In addition, we see professional occupations such as data scientists, information security analysts, statisticians, and software developers among the fastest growing occupations over the next decade.

Table showing Fastest Growing Occupations in the Mid-Valley: 2022-2032

In terms of actual job counts though, fast food and counter workers, farmworkers, home health care aides, stockers and order fillers, and retail salespersons are the five occupations with the most job openings anticipated by 2032. These are all large occupations, and they will all experience some openings due to economic growth, but also due to the retirement or other departures of existing workers.

In addition to the 28,500 new jobs from businesses opening or expanding, the region’s employers will also need sufficiently trained workers for the 351,300 openings due to the need to replace those leaving occupations. Replacement openings will comprise a majority of job openings in all major occupational groups.

Other Regional Projections

All areas of Oregon expect to see job opportunities due to both economic growth and to replace workers leaving the labor force or leaving their occupation in the coming years. The two regions projected to grow at the fastest rates are the Portland area (12%) and Central Oregon (12%). The Mid-Valley’s employment is projected to grow 10%, matching Oregon’s statewide rate of 10%.

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