Long-Term Job Openings Fueled by Growth, Retirements

by Brenda Turner

August 18, 2016

Two years have passed since the last occupational employment projections update. During that time, Oregon faced an expansion mode. That trend is expected to continue, and economic expansion results in job openings.
At 14 percent, expected employment growth in Oregon from 2014 to 2024 is about twice the projected national growth rate of 6.5 percent. In some industries, the state is still making up for jobs lost during the Great Recession. In others, the jobs lost have already been regained.

Where Are the Job Openings Focused?

At the broad occupational group, construction (+21%) and health care (+19%) top the list for fastest-growing by 2024. Service occupations (which include protective services, building and grounds cleaning, personal appearance workers, funeral service workers and more), and professional and related (computer occupations, engineers, drafters, scientists, education, and more) rank first in most job openings.

In addition to the job openings due to businesses opening or expanding over this period, a significant number of job openings are projected due to the need to replace workers leaving their occupations. Six out of 10 total job openings (440,100) are expected to be due to the need to replace workers who retire or otherwise leave their occupation, with the remaining openings due to new or expanding businesses. Construction occupations represent the sole group with more job openings due to growth than replacement. Replacements overshadow growth in all other broad occupational categories.

Service occupations made up 18 percent of the jobs in 2014, and are projected to comprise 22 percent of the openings over the decade. Office and administrative support shifted in the opposite direction, making up 15 percent of the jobs in 2014 but only 11 percent of the total openings over the 2014 to 2024 period.
Detailed Occupations

Occupations expected to have the most job openings include retail salespersons, waiters and waitresses, cashiers, combined food preparation and service workers, and registered nurses.

In terms of fastest-growing, half of the top 20 fastest-growing occupations are in the health care field, including physical therapists, physicians assistants, and optometrists.  Aging baby boomers are helping to fuel much of the growth in health care occupations.  Other top growing occupations are related to technology – web developers and computer and information research scientists. On other end of the scale, employment levels among several occupations are expected to decline, including bank tellers, postal workers, utility meter readers, and motion picture projectionists.


A typical entry-level education level and a competitive education level are assigned to each occupation. Most of the high-demand jobs do not require education beyond high school. Think about how many retail sales workers, waiters and waitresses, and fast food workers work in the state. These and other occupations make up two-thirds of the state's job openings that fall into the high school or less category for typical entry. Looking at the competitive education level assigned to each occupation, most of the openings fall into the more than high school category, where education beyond high school will help job seekers be more competitive when applying for jobs.
Additional Information

Every two years, the Oregon Employment Department updates long-term employment projections to account for changes in the economy. The 2014 to 2024 statewide projections are produced for about 100 industries and 700 occupations.

All statewide and regional employment projections are available at QualityInfo.org in the Publications section. Look for the Employment Projections Box.

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