Service Occupations Dish out the Most Job Openings by 2024

by Christopher Rich

August 8, 2016

Every two years, the Oregon Employment Department's Research Division calculates 10-year industry and occupational employment projections. These projections are produced for Oregon and its nine local workforce areas as well as several sub-regions. Eastern Oregon is comprised of three sub-regions; the Northeast (Baker, Union, and Wallowa), the Southeast (Malheur and Harney), and the Columbia Basin (Grant, Morrow, and Umatilla).
The recently released 2014 to 2024 Occupational Projections reveal that people working in Eastern Oregon held 72,073 jobs in 2014. Employers will need to rehire for roughly one fourth of those positions (17,549) by 2024 as workers leave their current occupations, mostly due to retirements (replacement openings). Another 4,861 job openings will be created by new or expanding firms (growth openings).

Eleven major occupational classifications plus one with no-classifiable occupations are expected to provide 22,410 total job openings over the 10-year period. Industry growth will expand the number of jobs in Eastern Oregon by 6.1 percent to reach 76,463 jobs. This level of growth is the lowest among Oregon's nine workforce areas where growth ranges from 6.1 to 15.0 percent. However, it is in line with two areas of comparable total employment: Northwest Oregon (Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, and Tillamook) and the Southwestern Oregon (Coos, Curry, and Douglas), where growth is expected to be 7.2 and 7.0 percent, respectively.

Service occupations should account for the largest number of openings (4,841) with 80 percent of service openings expected to come from a need to replace workers. The bulk of opportunity among service occupations (2,394 jobs) will be found in food preparation and serving related fields, concentrated in two areas: food and beverage serving and cooks and food preparation. Opportunity will also be seen in protective service occupations and will come from the need to replace 468 law enforcement and 102 firefighting and prevention workers; this is nearly 30 percent of the current workforce for these two occupational areas.

Professional and related occupations capture the second slot in total projected openings. Of the 2,736 expected openings in this major classification, roughly 45 percent should occur in education, training, and library occupations. For instance, local school districts are expected to replace 333 teachers of kindergarten, primary and secondary school, and special education by 2024; this accounts for roughly 23 percent of the current workforce for these detailed occupations. The local districts should also add another 69 like positions to account for increased enrollment through 2024.

Sales and related occupations hold the third spot on the list with 2,394 expected openings. Three-quarters of these openings are expected in two detailed occupations: retail salespersons (940 jobs) and cashiers (833 jobs). Retail salespersons and cashiers are number one and number two respectively on the list of detailed occupations with the most job openings from 2014 to 2024.

Whether through growth or replacement openings, all major occupational classifications provide employment opportunities for job seekers. Total employment in Eastern Oregon is projected to rise to 76,463 by 2024 and employers will need to hire for 22,410 jobs. Occupational projections can help to identify these potential opportunities.

To see the complete industry and occupational employment projections for Eastern Oregon, its sub-regions, or other areas in Oregon, visit, click on Publications, and under the Employment Projections find your area of interest.

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