Characteristics of Gilliam County Workers: Young Workers, Prime Working Years and Those Nearing Retirement

by Dallas Fridley

November 22, 2017

Rural Oregon counties tend to have a higher share of older workers. More than one out of four workers (27%) employed in a rural Oregon county has reached age 55. In Gilliam County, older workers held a 32 percent share in 2016, well above Oregon’s 23 percent. Among Oregon’s 36 counties, the share of older workers in Gilliam County ranked third highest; Wheeler County ranked first (38%) and Washington County ranked 36th (20%).

Workers Nearing Retirement by Industry

The 55 and over age group represented 32 percent or 183 of Gilliam County’s 694 workers. At the industry level, administrative, support and waste services may see the most retirements over the next decade. With 48 workers ages 55 and over in 2016, 30 percent were nearing retirement age. Administrative, support and waste services ranked as Gilliam County’s largest industry employer, with 160 workers in 2016.
Other services led all industries in the share of older workers, with 43 percent of its 21 workers coming from the nearing retirement group. At the other end of the spectrum, only 16 percent of accommodation and food services 38 workers came from the ages 55 and over group.

Prime Working Years

Workers ages 25 to 54 are in their prime working years, with a labor force participation rate (U.S.) of about 81 percent in 2016. For workers ages 55 and over, the U.S. labor force participation rate (LFPR) drops to 40 percent in 2016 or to about half the rate of workers in their prime working years. Workers age 20 to 24 produced a LFPR of 70.5 percent in 2016, while workers ages 16 to 19 experienced the lowest LFPR, at 35.2 percent.
Gilliam County employed 694 workers in 2016 and adults in their prime working years represented 60 percent or 413. Administrative, support and waste services employed the greatest number of prime working age adults, with 102 in 2016. Accommodation and food services employed 26 prime working age adults in 2016, with that group holding a 68 percent share. Health care and social assistance employed 43 workers in their prime years, representing 55 percent, still a majority.

Young Workers

Young workers represented just 8 percent of Gilliam County’s 694 workers, with 57 employed in 2016. Administrative, support and waste services led all industries, employing nine workers ages 14 to 24 to produce a 6 percent share. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting employed seven young workers, followed by public administration with six. Young workers didn’t hold any jobs in education services or transportation and warehousing.


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