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

by Dallas Fridley

October 17, 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 Hood River County, older workers held a 24 percent share in 2016, slightly above Oregon’s 23 percent. Among Oregon’s 36 counties, the share of older workers in Hood River County ranked quite low, in 32nd position between Polk County and Clackamas County; Wheeler County ranked first (38%) and Washington County ranked 36th (20%).

Workers Nearing Retirement by Industry

The 55 and over age group represented 24 percent or about 3,012 of Hood River County’s 12,489 workers. At the industry level, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting may see the most retirements over the next decade. With 764 workers ages 55 and over in 2016, 33 percent are nearing retirement age. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting led all industries with more than 2,300 workers in 2016.
Manufacturing finished a distant second with 304, or 19 percent, of its 1,625 workers nearing retirement over the next decade. Transportation and warehousing’s 40 percent share led all industries, while only 14 percent of accommodation and food services workers were 55 and over.

Prime Working Years

Workers ages 25 to 54 are in their prime working years, and had a labor force participation rate (U.S.) of about 81 percent in 2016. For workers ages 55 and over in 2016, the U.S. labor force participation rate (LFPR) drops to 40 percent 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.
Hood River County employed 12,489 workers in 2016 and adults in their prime working years represented 63 percent or 7,922. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting led all industries with 1,373 prime working age adults, producing a 59 percent share. Professional, scientific and technical services employed 562 prime working age adults in 2016, representing nearly three out of four (74%) of its workers. At the other end of the spectrum, accommodation and food services employed 917 workers from the prime group, about 59 percent of its 1,555 workers. Similarly, retail trade employed 1,239 workers in 2016, with the prime group representing 57 percent.

Young Workers

Young workers represented 12 percent of Hood River County’s 12,489 workers, with 1,557 employed in 2016. Accommodation and food services led all industries, employing 429 workers ages 14 to 24 or 28 percent of its total. Retail trade employed 253 young workers, followed by manufacturing with 228. Just 3 percent of the workers employed by education services came from the young workers group and only 4 percent of wholesale trade workers were ages 24 and under.


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