Hood River County 2018 Year in Review: Strong Job Growth

by Dallas Fridley

March 20, 2019

Hood River County performed admirably in 2018, rising by 430 nonfarm jobs or 3.7 percent to average 11,990. Hood River grew at twice the pace Oregon experienced, with the state adding 34,200 jobs, an increase of 1.8 percent, to total 1,909,500. Morrow County’s 6.8 percent gain led Oregon’s labor market areas, followed by Jefferson County’s 4.3 percent.
Education and health services led Hood River County’s industry growth in 2018, rising by 150 jobs or 9.7 percent to average 1,700. However, it is important to note that a legislative decision moved home care workers out of state government in 2018, inflating growth in education and health services somewhat. State government lost 60 jobs in 2018, falling to 110 – and most, if not all, of that loss reflected the movement of home care workers.

Professional and business services also performed well in 2018, rising by 80 jobs to average 1,180, an increase of 7.3 percent. Mining, logging, and construction increased its total by 50 jobs to average 520 (+10.6%). Food services and drinking places served up a gain of 40 jobs in 2018, rising to 1,290 (3.2%). Retail trade rose to 1,490 jobs, an increase of 40 or 2.8 percent. Manufacturing (+30), other services (+30), and financial activities (+20) also contributed to Hood River County’s job growth in 2018.

Although state government lost 60 jobs in 2018, local government rose by 30 to average 1,150, while federal government held steady with 120.

Looking back to 2008, Hood River County’s nonfarm employment rose by 1,640 jobs or about 1.6 percent annually. Oregon achieved a growth rate of about 1.1 percent annually from 2008 through 2018, while Morrow County led the state, rising by 5.1 percent or 50.6 percent over the decade. The Bend-Redmond, OR MSA performed exceptionally, gaining jobs at an annual rate of 2.3 percent from 2008 to 2018, followed by Washington County’s 1.9 percent. Gilliam County landed at the opposite end of the spectrum, with an employment loss of 1.6 percent annually, reflecting the transitory nature of windfarm construction that ended near the mid-point of the decade.

Strong job growth in three industries really stood out for Hood River County over the last decade (2008-2018). Manufacturing prospered with an increase of 430 jobs or 32.3 percent bringing its total to 1,760 jobs. Professional and business services produced a higher percentage gain, rising by 57.3 percent, while also adding 430 jobs. Food services and drinking places likewise impressed, rising by 340 jobs or 35.8 percent, well above Oregon’s 24.1 percent. On the losing end, wholesale trade cut 100 jobs over the decade, falling by 18.5 percent to average 440.


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