Oregon Jobs Projected to Increase 9 Percent by 2029

by Felicia Bechtoldt

October 1, 2020

Oregon’s total employment will grow by 181,800 jobs between 2019 and 2029, according to new projections from the Oregon Employment Department. The projections point to modest job growth between 2019 and 2029, although many job openings are expected due to the need to replace workers who leave their occupations.

In 2019, there were 2,120,000 jobs in Oregon. The 9 percent increase in employment between 2019 and 2029 includes private-sector gains of 156,400 jobs, 16,500 jobs in government, and an additional 8,900 gain in jobs for self-employed Oregonians.

The Employment Department’s 2019-2029 employment projections are long-term projections intended to capture structural change in the economy, not cyclical fluctuations. As such, they are not intended to project the impacts of the COVID-19 recession and its recovery.

Big Industries Add the Most Jobs

Private health care and social assistance will add 42,800 jobs, the most of any sector statewide. It’s followed by professional and business services with 33,000 additional jobs in 2029. There may be little surprise seeing health care and professional and business services among the top industries adding jobs, as they are two of the largest industries in the state. It’s notable that in addition to their size, these are also the fastest-growing industries.
Fast growth in health care and social assistance (16%) can be attributed to the growth and aging of the state’s population. Health care will account for one out of every five new jobs created in Oregon by 2029. Within health care and social assistance, ambulatory health care services (20%), such as doctor and dentist offices, chiropractors, physical and speech therapists, and other specialists, and nursing and residential care facilities (17%) are expected to grow much faster than hospitals (10%).

Professional and business services growth (13%) will be driven by gains in professional and technical services such as computer systems design (26%) and management of companies and enterprises (18%). Management of companies and enterprises includes corporate offices headquartered in Oregon.

Construction is the third-fastest growing industry, as it is expected to grow by 11 percent between 2019 and 2029. Demand for construction will be driven by population and economic growth, low residential vacancy rates and associated rising prices. Residential building construction is expected to increase by 14 percent adding 2,600 jobs. Nonresidential building construction should increase by 12 percent adding 1,400 jobs. Building equipment contractors are projected to add 3,400 jobs, a gain of 11 percent. This includes contractors for plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electrical and other wiring installations. Building finishing contractors, which includes contractors for drywall and insulation, flooring, and finish carpentry, are projected to add 1,300 jobs (8%).

Peak Employment

While overall employment and jobs in many sectors are expected to grow beyond their current peak levels, some sectors will fall short of their peak employment by 2029. Manufacturing employment is expected to grow by 5 percent to 207,600 jobs. That's slightly above its most recent peak of 207,300 jobs in 2006, but it is still below its all-time high of 228,600 jobs in 1998.

Financial activities should grow by 1 percent to 104,300, below its height of 106,600 in 2007. Information sector employment is projected to grow by 2,800 jobs to 37,900, about 2,000 jobs below its last peak in 2001.

Each of these three below-peak sectors consist of different component industries growing in notably different ways. Some smaller components of manufacturing – such as machinery (10%) and transportation equipment manufacturing (8%) – show higher projected growth rates. Meanwhile, the relatively larger wood product manufacturing (-3%) and paper manufacturing (-5%) industries show projected declines by 2029.

In financial activities, expected population growth and increased construction is associated with the projected 5 percent gain in real estate jobs. By comparison, financial establishments primarily engaged in deposit banking and extending credit – which account for more than half of financial activities jobs – are projected to decline by 2 percent.
One portion of the information sector consists of the growing software publishing industry, with projected growth of 23 percent by 2029. That’s quite a contrast from projected growth in the other information-related industries. Telecommunications jobs are expected to decline by 12 percent, while newspaper, book, and directory publishers can expect job losses totaling 800 (-27%).

Declining Industries

Several other industry groups with the biggest projected losses relate to the production and distribution of various paper-related products and retail trade. These include newspaper, book, and directory publishers (-27%); book, periodical, and music stores (-24%); printing (-19%); shoe stores (-11%); clothing stores (-10%); sawmills (-7%); converted paper product manufacturing (-6%); and pulp, paper, and paperboard mills (-6%).


Projections show relatively modest growth in all broad areas of government. Federal government should continue to grow (2%), largely due to federal postal employment gains (9%). State government is expected to grow 8 percent and local government is expected to grow 6 percent.

All Industries Need Workers

Whether growing rapidly or showing a net loss of jobs by 2029, all broad industries provide employment opportunities to Oregonians. The demand is clear in some industries. Together health care, professional and business services, and construction will account for nearly half of all new jobs in the state. Slower growing sectors and declining industries still offer many job opportunities though, as they need to replace some retiring workers or others leaving the industry.

More information on 2019-2029 industry and occupational projections for Oregon and sub-state areas can be found at QualityInfo.org/projections.

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