Columbia Gorge Industry Employment Forecast, 2017-2027

by Dallas Fridley

July 19, 2018

The five-county Columbia Gorge area (Gilliam, Hood River, Sherman, Wasco and Wheeler) is expected to add 3,340 jobs by 2027, with total employment rising to 34,400. The 10-year forecast pegs growth in the Columbia Gorge area at 11 percent, just below Oregon’s 12 percent increase.

Employment in the Columbia Gorge totaled 31,600 in the 2017 base year. Private industry employment represented about 78 percent or 24,090 jobs. Self-employment represented 2,850 or 9 percent and government held 4,120 jobs or about 13 percent.

Within private industry, education and health services is expected to add the most jobs, rising by 670 or 16 percent in 10 years to average 4,740 in 2027. Leisure and hospitality will grow by 520 jobs, rising to 4,410, an increase of 13 percent. Trade, transportation, and utilities (+390); manufacturing (+300); professional and business services (+300); natural resources and mining (+270); construction (+160); and other services (+120) are all projected to add jobs over the 2017 to 2027 forecast.
Government is expected to rise by 180 jobs over 2017 to 2027 to average 4,300, led by an increase of 170 jobs in local government. Self-employment is forecast to rise by 400 jobs or about 14 percent to average 3,250 in 2027.
The Columbia Gorge is one of three sub-areas that makeup the East Cascades, a 10-county region that stretches through Central Oregon (Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson) and South Central Oregon (Klamath and Lake). The East Cascades is projected to add 20,100 jobs through 2027, rising to 180,700, an increase of 13 percent. Within the East Cascades, the forecast ranged from 15 percent growth in Central Oregon to a low of 6 percent in South Central.
In addition to the East Cascades, industry employment forecasts are available for seven more areas in Oregon – along with sub-area breakouts for the East Cascades and Eastern Oregon. Portland-Metro (Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties) and the East Cascades led the forecast, with each rising by 13 percent from 2017 to 2027. Job growth is expected to be considerably slower for the five counties of Northwest Oregon (Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, and Tillamook), rising by 7 percent over the 10-year forecast. Slow growth is also expected for the three counties that makeup Southwest Oregon (Coos, Curry, and Douglas).

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