Long-Term Outlook for Klamath and Lake County’s Job Market Is Mixed

by Damon Runberg

June 27, 2018

South Central Oregon (Klamath and Lake counties) is expected to see job growth over the next 10 years (2017-2027). However, the region is expected to be amongst the slowest growing over the forecast period. The two county region is anticipated to add around 1,760 jobs by 2027, a growth rate of 6 percent. This is far slower than the statewide pace of 12 percent. Growth is expected to be largely concentrated in Oregon’s metro areas with rural parts of the state forecast to have slow growth.

Although job growth is expected to be slower than in other parts of the state over the next 10 years, a larger number of job openings is expected in order to replace retiring workers and those moving to new occupations. For every one job opening due to economic growth there are expected to be around 18 replacement openings. Together growth and replacement job openings add up to around 34,500 total openings by 2027. 

Construction is expected to be the fastest growing industry in the region, expanding by 20 percent over the next 10 years (+190 jobs). This is a continuation of the recent recovery in the construction industry.
The largest number of jobs added will be in health care and social assistance (+450), expanding by around 12 percent. Job growth in health care is largely a reflection of an aging population in Klamath and Lake counties.

Notable gains are also anticipated in natural resources and mining (+200 jobs); leisure and hospitality (+160 jobs); and retail trade (+160 jobs).

The only major industry sector expected to lose jobs over the forecast period is information. This is a small employment sector that is expected to see only modest declines by 2027 (-20 jobs).

Although industry job losses are limited, several important industry sectors are projected to see very slow growth, including manufacturing (+1%) and professional and business services (+3%). The manufacturing sector struggled to recover from the most recent recession and very little growth is expected in the long-term outlook.  

Government employment is expected to rise by a modest 2 percent (+100 jobs). Public sector growth is projected to be split between local government and state government with federal agencies anticipated to see modest declines over the forecast period.

Occupational growth is expected to follow many of the industry trends with the fastest growth among construction and extraction occupations (+15.2%), as well as health support occupations (+12.2%) and health care practitioners and technical occupations (+11.5%).

Despite fast growth in these construction and health related occupational groups, openings are expected to be dominated by office and administrative support occupations (+4,620 openings); sales and related occupations (+4,480 openings); and food preparation and serving occupations (+3,887 openings). 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 Klamath and Lake County’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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