Government Employment Trends in Lincoln County

by Erik Knoder

June 14, 2017

Government employment made up about 23.5 percent of Lincoln County’s total payroll employment in April 2017. (Payroll employment excludes self-employed and a few other groups of workers, primarily those being paid on a commission or share basis.) This article shows employment trends for federal, state, and local government that were requested by a customer. This information is available for all the counties in Northwest Oregon at Non-tribal government employment is exempt from most confidentiality rules, so very detailed information is available upon request.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the largest federal government employer in Lincoln County, followed by the U.S. Forest Service. NOAA expanded significantly in 2011, but has declined a little since then. Federal government employment is expected to slowly decline in the future.
State government employment is dominated (nearly 60%) by home care workers. Home care workers provide assistance with activities of daily living for people, often relatives, who need assistance in their homes. State government employment expanded in 2004 when then existing home care workers were counted as state employees for employment reporting purposes. They are not considered state employees for other purposes. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Department of Human Resources (Vocational Rehabilitation) are among the larger state agencies in the county. State government employment declined sharply in 2014 when Oregon State University (OSU) was reclassified from state government into local government. State government employment without home care workers or OSU shows a seasonal trend (increasing in the summer), but has been fairly stable for the past few years.

Local government has three major components in Lincoln County: public education, tribal government, and other local government, naturally called local government excluding education and tribal. Data are not available for tribal and local government excluding education and tribal until 2004.

Local government education includes public K-12 education, Oregon Coast Community College, OSU Marine Science Center, Career Tech Charter School, district offices, and the Linn Benton Education Service District. It does not include other charter schools. Employment in education is highly seasonal due to the summer break. Employment fell significantly from 2002 through 2006 when enrollment fell, and the district closed several schools. The number of jobs fell further with funding cuts in 2011. Employment increased significantly in this category in 2014 when OSU was reclassified into local government education.
Local tribal government employment declined slowly from 2005 onward before jumping significantly to a new peak in 2017. All tribal businesses are included in the count of tribal government employment. The website for the Chinook Winds Casino states that the Siletz Tribe and the Chinook Winds Casino together is the largest employer in Lincoln County.

Local government employment, excluding education and tribal, is led by Lincoln County, the City of Newport, and the City of Lincoln City. This component also includes fire protection districts, water districts, and ports. Employment fell along with reduced funding after the Great Recession. It increased somewhat at the end of 2016, but remains below its peak level. The recent increase is spread across more than a dozen agencies, but the Port of Toledo and Depoe Bay Rural Fire Protection District grew proportionately more than other government employers during the past year. The Port of Toledo is expanding their ship repair facility. 

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