Oregon’s Future Workforce Needs: Job Growth to 2027 by Industry

by Gail Krumenauer

June 26, 2018

Oregon’s total employment will grow by 245,800 jobs between 2017 and 2027. The 12 percent employment increase includes private-sector gains of 211,700 jobs, growth of 18,000 jobs in government, and an additional 16,100 self-employed Oregonians.

Big Industries Add the Most Jobs

Health care and social assistance will add 49,500 jobs, the most of any sector statewide. It’s followed by professional and business services with 41,200 additional jobs in 2027. 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 two of the three fastest-growing industries.
Fast growth in health care (20%) can be attributed to the growth and aging of the state’s population. Within health care, independent health care practitioners (such as chiropractors, physical and speech therapists), offices of other specialists (25%), and nursing and residential care facilities (20%) are expected to grow much faster than hospitals (13%).

Professional and business services growth (17%) will be driven by gains in professional and technical services such as computer systems design (29%) and management of companies and enterprises (28%). Management of companies and enterprises includes corporate offices headquartered in Oregon.

Buildup in Construction

The other fastest-growing industry in Oregon is not among the biggest. Fueled by demand from both population and economic growth, with low residential and commercial vacancy rates and associated rising prices, construction jobs should build up by 17 percent between 2017 and 2027.

Within construction, building finishing contractors are projected to add 2,800 jobs, a gain of 20 percent. This includes contractors for drywall and insulation, flooring, and finish carpentry. Employment at other specialty trade contractors – such as building demolition crews, earth movers, foundation diggers, and some types of paving work – should increase by 2,000 jobs (24%). Residential and nonresidential building construction growth should each rise by 20 percent over the decade.

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 2027. Manufacturing employment should grow by 7 percent to 200,200 jobs. That’s well below 228,500 in 1998, and slightly short of the most recent peak in 2006 (207,500 jobs). Growth of 5 percent in financial activities results in 104,000 jobs, below its height of 106,400 in 2007. The information sector’s addition of 3,500 jobs between 2017 and 2027 results in industry employment of 37,700. Information last peaked in 2001 at 39,700 jobs.

Each of these three below-peak sectors consist of different component industries growing in notably different ways. Some smaller components of manufacturing – such as food (15%) and beverage manufacturing (30%) – show notably faster projected growth rates. Meanwhile, the relatively larger wood product manufacturing (0.4%) and paper manufacturing (-7%) industries show little net growth or projected declines by 2027.

In financial activities, expected population growth and increased construction is associated with the projected 8 percent gain in real estate jobs. By comparison, financial establishments primarily engaged in deposit banking and extending credit – which account for the bulk of all financial activities – are projected to grow by just 2 percent.
One portion of the information sector consists of the growing software publishing industry, with projected growth of 26 percent by 2027. That’s quite a contrast from projected growth in the other information-related industries. Telecommunications jobs are expected to decline by 4 percent, while newspaper, book, and directory publishers can expect job losses totaling 400 (-12%).

Slow-Growing and Declining Industries

Several other industry groups with the biggest projected losses relate to the production and distribution of various paper-related products. These include book, periodical, and music stores (-20%); printing and related support activities (-14%); newspaper, book, and directory publishers (-12%); office supplies, stationery, and gift stores (-10%); paper and paper product merchant wholesalers (-10%); pulp, paper, and paperboard mills (-10%); and converted paper product manufacturing (-7%).

Projections show relatively slow growth or decline in all broad areas of government. Federal government declines should continue (-1%), largely due to federal postal employment losses (-6%). State government growth (7%) will be driven primarily by state-owned hospitals, and local government gains are expected to total 7 percent.
All Industries Need Workers

Whether growing rapidly or showing a net loss of jobs by 2027, 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 about Oregon’s long-term employment projections can be found at QualityInfo.org/projections.


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