Eastern Oregon Workforce Is Getting Older

by Tony Wendel

May 12, 2021

From 2010 to 2020, Eastern Oregon’s employment grew by almost 9%. However, employment growth varied widely by age group. While most age groups saw growth over that time period, employment for workers age 45 to 54 declined substantially.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators, annual average employment for Eastern Oregon (Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa counties) grew from 65,654 in 2010 to 71,510 in 2020. In 2010, the 45 to 54-year-old age group held the largest number of jobs in Eastern Oregon at 15,775, representing 24% of the area’s total employment. Employment of workers in this age group fell to a low of 14,075 in 2020, making up about 20% of Eastern Oregon’s total employment and leaving the age group almost 11% below the 2010 level.
During this same period of time that employment of 45 to 54-year olds was falling, employment of those 55 and over was growing in Eastern Oregon. In 2010, employment of those ages 55 and over represented about 24% of all employment in Eastern Oregon. By 2020, the share of jobs held by workers 55 and over in the area had grown to slightly more than 26%.

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