Characteristics of Umatilla 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 Umatilla 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 Umatilla County ranked quite low, in 29th position between Columbia County and Marion 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 nearly 7,300 of Umatilla County’s 29,923 workers. At the industry level, health care and social assistance may see the most retirements over the next decade. With about 1,000 workers ages 55 and over in 2016, the share of health care and social assistance workers nearing retirement age matched Umatilla County’s all industries average. Health care and social assistance led all industries with more than 4,000 workers in 2016.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting finished at a close second with 952 of its 3,015 workers nearing retirement over the next decade, about 32 percent. Real estate’s 36 percent share (87 workers) led all industries, while only 16 percent of accommodation and food services workers and 20 percent of retail trade 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 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.
Umatilla County employed nearly 30,000 workers in 2016 and adults in their prime working years represented 62 percent or about 18,600. Health care and social assistance employed the greatest number of Umatilla County’s prime working age adults, with more than 2,600 in 2016. Public administration employed around 2,000 prime working age adults in 2016, with that group holding 70 percent of its jobs. At the other end of the spectrum, accommodation and food services employed more than 1,900 in the prime working age group, representing 57 percent of its 3,340 jobs. Likewise, retail trade employed nearly 3,100 workers in 2016, with the prime working age group representing 57 percent.

Young Workers

Young workers represented about 14 percent of Umatilla County’s 30,000 workers, with 4,049 employed in 2016. Accommodation and food services led all industries, employing just over 900 workers ages 14 to 24 or 27 percent of its total. Retail trade employed around 700 young workers, followed by manufacturing with nearly 500. Just 4 percent of the workers employed by education services came from the young workers group and only 5 percent of public administration workers were ages 24 and under.

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