New Hires by Age in the Rogue Valley

by Ainoura Oussenbec

November 3, 2017

Rogue Valley’s population and workforce are getting older, well in line with the statewide and national trends. However, the local population is already much older than in Oregon and the U.S. In 2016, the median age in Jackson and Josephine counties was 43.1 and 47.1, respectively, compared with Oregon’s 39.2 and the national median age at 37.9.
The workforce in the Rogue Valley is aging more in some industries than others. For instance, manufacturing, health care, and professional services tend to have higher shares of mature workers, those ages 55 and over. On the other hand, hospitality and retail trade tend to have more young workers. The source for the workforce data by age and industry is the Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) from Census Bureau. This data set is based on several sources, including Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, i.e. the data reported directly by employers. The quarterly QWI statistics feature not only the existing workforce in general, but also new hires.

While some job seekers believe employers only want to hire young workers, the QWI data shows that local employers hire older workers as well. In fact, the share of mature workers among new hires increased in recent years. The share of Jackson County’s new hires who were at least 55 years old increased from 8 percent in 2001 to more than 14 percent in 2016. It is remarkable that even in the age category of 65 to 99, the number of new hires almost doubled between 2001 and 2016.

In Josephine County, only 6.5 percent of new hires in 2001 were age 55 or older. The share of mature workers increased to 11.7 percent in 2016. The number of new hires among the 65 plus age group more than doubled during the same period.
Workers expected to retire at 65 may want or need to continue working for various reasons. It looks like local employers, struggling with workforce shortages, are now tapping more into the talent and experiences of mature workers.

The biggest portion of new hires in 2016 was, predictably, in the age group 25 to 34. However, it is encouraging to know that in the past decade or so, the share of mature workers among new hires increased in both Jackson and Josephine counties.

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