Labor Trends for Older Workers in Clackamas County

by Lynn Wallis

October 17, 2017

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more and more people are working into their later years and this trend is expected to continue. In Oregon, the labor force participation rate (LFPR) for the state’s 55 to 64 year old population is projected to grow from 62.8 percent in 2015 to 64.6 percent by 2024. This includes people who are working or are unemployed and actively looking for work. During the same time period, the LFPR for the prime working age population (25-54 years) is expected to remain relatively unchanged while the LFPR for teenagers and young adults (16-24 years) will continue to fall.  
Factors contributing to the increased labor force participation rates for older workers include: longer life expectancy, healthier and better educated population, more savings needed for retirement, and growth in the older population.

In Clackamas County, the 55 and older population is expected to grow from 27.7 percent of the population in 2010 to 34.5 percent in 2050, while the percentage of the working age population is expected to slightly decline.
During the third quarter of 2016, 42,485 workers age 55 years and older worked in Clackamas County. These older workers made up 21.6 percent of total employment in the county.

Seventy-two percent of these older workers were age 55 to 64 years and 28 percent were age 65 or older. Five broad industries employed one-half of the older workers: health care and social assistance; manufacturing; retail trade; wholesale trade; and construction.

According to the BLS, older workers in the nation were employed across many types of occupations in 2016. More than 42 percent were in management, professional and related occupations. Data also shows that older workers have higher rates of self-employment than younger workers due to years of accumulated knowledge and resources.

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