Long-Term Projections Show Broad-Based Growth in the Mid-Valley Workforce Area

by Pat O'Connor

October 18, 2018

The Mid-Valley Workforce Area (Linn, Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties) will add 33,400 jobs between 2017 and 2027, according to new projections from the Oregon Employment Department. This represents a 12 percent increase in employment over 10 years. The growth stems from anticipated private-sector gains of 27,600 jobs (13%) and the addition of 3,500 jobs (7%) in government. This projected 12 percent growth rate exceeds the 6 percent growth seen over the past decade in the Mid-Valley.

Beyond gains from economic growth, an additional 325,000 job openings will be created by 2027 as workers change occupations or leave for other reasons, such as retirement.

The 2017 to 2027 employment projections bring together several ongoing trends over the past few years: a growing health care sector, due in part to an aging population; continuing recovery from the Great Recession in the Mid-Valley’s manufacturing sector; and the need to replace workers due to retirements.

Industry Projections

There will be job opportunities in all of the broad private-sector industry groups. All are expected to add jobs by 2027.
The region’s private educational and health services sector is projected to add the most jobs (8,100), followed by trade, transportation, and utilities (+5,100 jobs), and leisure and hospitality and construction, which will each add 3,000 jobs.

The region’s construction industry, continuing to bounce back from massive recession job losses, is projected to grow at the fastest rate of any major industry, growing 20 percent or 3,000 jobs).
Private-sector education and health services is expected to grow nearly as fast as construction, growing 19 percent and adding 8,100 jobs.

Federal government is the only major industry sector not expected to add employment. It is expected to have flat employment over the decade.

Occupational Projections

Between 2017 and 2027, there will be job openings in almost all occupations.

Economic diversity in the Mid-Valley Workforce Area is demonstrated by the two different occupational categories projected to have the most job openings in the region: service occupations (87,000 openings) and administrative and support occupations (42,100 openings). Service occupations include jobs as varied as emergency services, pest control workers, and fast food cooks. Administrative and support occupations include bookkeepers, customer service representatives, and receptionists.
Health care and construction occupations tend to be the ones growing fastest, driven in large part by the aging population and recession-recovery trends noted earlier. Physical therapist assistants, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, cartographers, and physical therapist aides are the fastest-growing occupations in the region.
In terms of actual job counts, however, farmworkers, retail salespersons, food preparation and serving workers, cashiers, and personal care and service workers, all other are the five occupations with the most job openings anticipated by 2027. These are all large occupations, and they will all experience some openings due to economic growth, but many more due to the retirement or other departure of existing workers.

In addition to the 33,215 new jobs from businesses opening or expanding, the region’s employers will also need sufficiently trained workers for the nearly 325,000 openings due to the need to replace those leaving occupations. Replacement openings will make up a majority of total job openings in all major occupational groups.

Nearly half (45%) of the projected job openings in the Mid-Valley will require some sort of education beyond high school in order for candidates to be competitive in the hiring process. A bachelor's degree or higher will be needed for about 19 percent of the openings at the competitive level.

Other Regional Projections

Central Oregon and the Portland metro area will record the fastest employment growth over the 10-year period, according to projections made by the Employment Department’s regional economists. The Portland tri-county area consisting of Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties anticipates 13 percent employment growth by 2027. The Central Oregon region made up of Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties expects employment gains of 15 percent. Northwest and southwestern Oregon are expected to grow the slowest in the state, both growing 7 percent by 2027.


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