Other Services in Northwest Oregon

by Erik Knoder

March 12, 2018

Other services is that ambiguous, mysterious, and poorly named industry that includes four sub-industries: religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations; private households; repair and maintenance businesses; and personal and laundry services. Employment in other services has grown nearly three times as fast (2.5% vs. 0.9% per year) as total employment has in Northwest Oregon over the 10 years from 2006 through 2016. The region’s industry employs about 4,200 people.
The largest component of other services is the religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations sub-industry. There were 434 such establishments in Northwest Oregon (Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, and Tillamook counties) in 2016 (the latest full year of data). In total these businesses had 2,138 employees. This was about half the total employment in all of other services. This sub-industry includes churches, foundations, veterans associations, fraternal organizations, clubs, unions, and marijuana dispensaries. Employment in the religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations sub-industry grew at an average of 1.5 percent per year from 2007 through 2016 – faster than the average for all employment, but not the fastest growing part of other services.

The fastest-growing sub-industry in other services was private households, which grew an amazing 17.9 percent per year on average over the 10 years. Employment in this component increased by 661, from 206 in 2007 to 867 in 2016. This increase in employment by private households accounted for 80 percent of the growth in the entire other services industry over this time period. Although it is a fast-growing sub-industry, it is less clear what accounts for the growth. This industry includes such occupations as nannies, housekeepers, and cooks. It also includes some people who work as home health aides or personal support workers. To complicate matters, the employment of some home health aides is counted in a completely different industry – social assistance, and specifically in the sub-industry services for the elderly and persons with disabilities. This sub-industry grew 60 percent over the same 10 years, suggesting that this type of work probably accounts for some of the rapid growth in employment in private households. There were 738 private households with employees in 2016.

Repair and maintenance businesses make up the next largest component of other services. This sub-industry had 657 employees in Northwest Oregon in 2016 and 181 establishments. Employment in the industry is fairly stable. It dropped about 130 jobs during the recession from 2007 to 2012, but has since increased by 57 jobs and is back to its 2009 level. The outlook for this industry is fairly slow growth in employment over the next 10 years. Most of the jobs are in automotive repair and maintenance. There are significant changes afoot in vehicle design and use, such as self-driving vehicles and ride sharing, which make forecasting growth in this sub-industry problematic.

The smallest sub-industry in other services is personal and laundry services. This includes businesses such as barber shops, spas, beauty salons, funeral homes, drycleaners, and pet grooming. This group had 544 employees in 2016 and, like repair and maintenance, its employment level is down slightly (-18) from 2007. The sub-industry lost about 80 jobs during the recession, but has grown since 2014. Because employment in the industry is tied to personal care (which we all like) and pet care (which our pets like), it is expected to grow moderately as the region’s population grows.

Slow to moderate growth of employment in other services in Northwest Oregon is based on the slow-to-moderate population growth the region can expect, coupled with technology changes that increase labor productivity. It is possible that our population will increase more rapidly than expected; it has happened before in the region when in-migration increased.

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