Oregon Employment Forecast: Steady as She Goes

by Amy Vander Vliet

February 6, 2018

The economic expansion continues. However, Oregon has moved on beyond the peak growth rates of 2014 and 2015 and settled into a slower, more sustainable pace that’s in line with an economy being at, or near, full employment. And a pace that’s typical in, at nearly eight years old, a mature expansion. Despite the more subdued growth, Oregon is still outpacing the nation and all but six states (2016-2017).
The outlook remains positive according to the latest Oregon Economic and Revenue forecast from the Office of Economic Analysis (OEA). The state will continue to add jobs to the tune of roughly 3,000 a month, or 2 percent in 2018; enough to hold down the jobless rate and account for population growth. Growth slows to 1.6 percent in 2019.

Growth will be powered by the large and diverse professional and business services (e.g., company headquarters, temp help, computer systems design); leisure and hospitality (e.g., restaurants, golf courses); and private health care. Construction will continue to outperform the overall economy as the housing recovery continues and in-migration remains high. But after several red hot years, the pace of growth will cool somewhat. Manufacturing, after hitting a soft patch in 2016, is adding jobs once again with more gains expected. Growth will be strongest in food and beverage (e.g., breweries) manufacturing.

Oregon’s job growth will continue to outpace the nation and the average state as long as we maintain three major advantages that have served us well in the past: our ability to attract and retain a skilled labor force; our industry structure; and a favorable climate for new business formation.

The OEA's complete report is available at www.oregon.gov/das/OEA/Pages/forecastecorev.aspx.

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