Columbia Gorge Industry Employment Projections, 2019-2029

by Dallas Fridley

November 24, 2020

The five-county Columbia Gorge area (Gilliam, Hood River, Sherman, Wasco, and Wheeler) is expected to add 2,630 jobs by 2029, with total employment rising to 32,960. The 10-year projection pegs growth in the Columbia Gorge area at 9 percent, matching Oregon’s 9 percent increase.

Employment in the Columbia Gorge totaled 30,330 in the 2019 base year. Private industry employment represented about 82 percent or 28,750 jobs. Self-employment represented 5 percent or 1,580 jobs, and government held about 13 percent 3,850 jobs.

Within private industry, education and health services is expected to add the most jobs, rising by 620 or 15 percent in 10 years to average 4,840 in 2029. Leisure and hospitality is projected to grow by 410 jobs, rising to 4,300, an increase of 11 percent. Natural resources and mining (+370); manufacturing (+280); trade, transportation, and utilities (+230); professional and business services (+140); other services (+120); and construction (+110) are all projected to add jobs over the 2019-2029 period.
Government is expected to rise by 140 jobs from 2019 to 2029 to average 3,990. Local government will increase its total by 5 percent, rising to 3,040. State government is expected to rise by 30 jobs to 420, while federal government is projected to cut 30 jobs, falling to 530. Self-employment is projected to rise by 130 jobs or about 8 percent to average 1,710 in 2029.
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 16,500 jobs through 2029, rising to 182,300, an increase of 10 percent. Within the East Cascades, the projections ranged from 12 percent growth in Central Oregon to a low of 5 percent in South Central.
In addition to the East Cascades, industry employment projections are available for seven more areas in Oregon – along with another sub-area breakout for Eastern Oregon. Portland-Metro (Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties) is expected to grow the fastest of the regions, rising by 11 percent from 2019 to 2029. Job growth is expected to be considerably slower for the five counties of Northwest Oregon (Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, and Tillamook), rising by 6 percent over the 10-year period. Slow growth is also expected for the three counties that make up Southwestern Oregon (Coos, Curry, and Douglas), and Eastern Oregon (Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa).

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