Eastern Oregon’s Sub-Regions Differ on Share of Self-Employed

by Tony Wendel

March 8, 2019

Eastern Oregon comprises eight counties, but sometimes for labor market information purposes it is divided into two sub-regions: the Columbia Basin (Morrow and Umatilla counties) and the Eastern Six (Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Union, and Wallowa counties). The Columbia Basin and Eastern Six are opposites when comparing their share of self-employed to Oregon statewide.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the Eastern Six has a larger share of self-employed (16%) than Oregon as a whole (12%), while the Columbia Basin has a smaller share (9%). This includes those who are self-employed in both incorporated and unincorporated businesses.
Of the slightly more than 37,000 people working in the Eastern Six, about 62 percent work in private, for-profit businesses compared with 69 percent statewide and about 69 percent of the slightly fewer than 37,000 working in the Columbia Basin. Another 8 percent of Eastern Six workers work in private non-profit firms, slightly higher than the 7 percent share in the Columbia Basin and slightly lower than Oregon’s 9 percent share. Local, state, and federal government employs 20 percent of Eastern Six workers and 19 percent of Columbia Basin workers while only 14 percent of Oregon workers statewide work for government.

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