Long-Term Outlook for Central Oregon’s Job Market Is Bright

by Damon Runberg

June 27, 2018

Central Oregon is projected to add jobs at a faster pace than any other part of the state over the next 10 years. This is not an uncommon position for Central Oregon to be in as the region was expected to be the fastest growing in the previous iteration of these employment projections. Regional job growth is being fueled by a growing population; an aging population; and the continuing transformation of the economy from a rural job base to a more urban composition.

The three county region (Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson) is expected to add nearly 15,000 jobs by 2027, a growth rate of 15 percent. Central Oregon along with the Portland Metro area (+13%) are the only regions expected to grow faster than the statewide pace of 12 percent.

Although the region can expect to see nearly 15,000 new jobs added over the next 10 years, the number of job openings is expected to be far larger in order to replace retiring workers and those moving to new occupations. For every one job opening due to economic growth more than eight replacement job openings are projected. Together growth and replacements add up to nearly 137,000 job openings by 2027.
Unlike at the statewide level where health care is expected to be the fastest growing sector, construction is projected to be Central Oregon’s fastest growing industry sector expanding by 35 percent by 2027 (+2,350 jobs). Construction growth is largely a reflection of continued demand for housing due to rapid population growth. However, commercial components of the industry are also expected to see fast job growth.

The industry expected to add the most jobs is health care and social assistance (+2,540). There will be continued demand for health practitioners, caregivers, and other health-related occupations as the aging baby boomer population increases its use of health services.

Another industry expected to see rapid growth is professional and business services (+1,820 jobs). This follows several years of strong growth in the professional sector in the most recent economic expansion.

No major industry sector is expected to lose jobs over the next 10 years. However, a handful of sub-sectors, including wood product manufacturing (-50 jobs); mining and logging (-10 jobs), and federal government (-20 jobs) are expected to see modest losses over the forecast period. Although the wood product sector is expected to lose jobs, the broad manufacturing sector is actually expected to see healthy growth, expanding by 13 percent (+950 jobs).

Government employment is expected to rise by a modest 3 percent (+440 jobs). Local government employment, in particular local education, is expected to grow at a faster pace (+6%). These gains are largely a reflection of increased demand for public services due to a larger population and the continued build out of the Oregon State University Cascades campus.

Occupational growth is expected to follow many of the industry trends with the following occupational groups expected to see growth in excess of 20 percent by 2027: construction and extraction occupations (+32.1%); computer and mathematical occupations (+23.3%); architecture and engineering occupations (+23%); and business and financial operations occupations (+21%).

Despite fast growth in these professional occupational groups, openings are expected to be dominated by food preparation and serving, office support, retail sales, construction, and service occupations. These are not particularly large growth occupational groups, however due to higher rates of turnover and a large number of jobs these occupations will account for a large share of the total openings by 2027.
It is important to remember that Central Oregon’s economy is unlikely to perfectly mimic these employment projections over the next 10 years. These projections will be updated in two years as more information becomes available.

 


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