Long-Term Job Openings Fueled by Replacements

by Felicia Bechtoldt

October 5, 2020

Oregon’s total employment will grow by 9 percent (181,800 jobs) between 2019 and 2029, according to new projections from the Oregon Employment Department. That’s a modest job growth rate; however, many job openings are expected due to the need to replace workers who leave their occupations.

The Oregon Employment Department’s 2019-2029 employment projections are long-term projections intended to capture structural change in the economy, not cyclical fluctuations. As such, they are not intended to project the full impacts of the COVID-19 recession and its recovery.

Where Are the Job Openings Focused?

Among the broad occupational groups, health care (+14.5%) tops the list for fastest-growing by 2029. Service occupations (which include protective services, building and grounds cleaning, personal appearance workers, funeral service workers, and more) rank first in most job openings. Service occupations made up 19 percent of jobs in 2019 and are projected to comprise 25 percent of the job openings over the decade.
Over this period most job openings are projected due to the need to replace workers leaving their occupations. Nine out of 10 total job openings (2.6 million) are expected due to the need to replace workers who retire, leave the labor force for other reasons, or make a major occupational change, with the remaining openings due to new or expanding businesses. Replacements overshadow growth openings in all broad occupational categories.

Detailed Occupations

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

In terms of fastest-growing, 13 of the 20 fastest-growing occupations with 2019 employment of 1,000 or more are health care occupations and those associated with health care, including mental health. They include physician and medical assistants, nurse practitioners, substance abuse and mental health counselors, massage therapists, and home health aides. Aging baby boomers are helping to fuel much of the growth in health care occupations along with longer life expectancies and growing rates of chronic conditions.
Other top-growing occupations are related to computers, math, and business – software developers, operations research analysts, market research analysts, marketing specialists, and financial managers. On the other end of the scale, employment levels among several occupations are expected to decline. That includes parking enforcement workers, executive and legal secretaries, bank tellers, telemarketers, and medical transcriptionists.


In 2019, six out of 10 jobs in Oregon typically required a minimum of high school education or less. To meet more competitive requirements for Oregon's jobs, six out of 10 required education beyond high school.

Occupations with the most job openings typically requiring a high school diploma or less include retail salespersons, food preparation and serving workers, and cashiers. Those requiring a postsecondary certification or associate’s degree include truck drivers, bookkeepers, and nursing and medical assistants. Occupations with the most total openings requiring at least a bachelor’s degree vary from general and operations managers to registered nurses, software developers, and accountants.

Additional Information

The 2019-2029 employment projections for Oregon are produced for about 100 industries and 800 occupations. More information on industry and occupational projections for Oregon and sub-state areas can be found at QualityInfo.org/projections.

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