Eastern Oregon’s Nonfarm Employment Finally Surpasses Pre-Recession Level

by Tony Wendel

September 7, 2017

During the Great Recession, nonfarm employment in Eastern Oregon (Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa counties) fell from an estimated 68,850 jobs in June 2007 to 62,050 jobs in January 2010, a drop of about 6,800 jobs or 9.9 percent.

In June 2017, nonfarm employment in Eastern Oregon reached an estimated 69,190 jobs, finally rising above the June 2007 pre-recession level. While Eastern Oregon as a whole reached this milestone, six of the eight counties still have not. Only Morrow and Wallowa counties have individually surpassed pre-recession nonfarm employment levels. Wallowa County just achieved this in July 2017. Morrow County has been the outlier, surpassing pre-recession levels in April 2011 and seeing significant growth at the Port of Morrow since then.

According to 2016 annual average employment, Umatilla County easily has the largest share of employment in the area with 42 percent of the jobs, followed by Malheur (18%), Union (15%), Baker (8%), Morrow (7%), Wallowa (4%), Grant (3%), and Harney (3%).

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