Southwestern Oregon Jobs Projected to Increase 6 Percent by 2029

by Guy Tauer

November 10, 2020

Southwestern Oregon’s total employment will grow by 4,230 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 76,170 jobs in Southwestern Oregon. The 6 percent increase in employment between 2019 and 2029 includes private-sector gains of 3,510 jobs, 560 jobs in government, and an additional 160 self-employed jobs added during the decade.

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. As we were updating these projections we did have some preliminary look at what industries had the largest initial impact, so we made some adjustments based on those initial trends. However, these projections are a longer-term look at the economy, and we don’t pretend to know the full impact of changes in our economy and job market from the COVID pandemic.

Employment projections are primarily based on historical data. Every attempt is made to incorporate current and near-future events, such as recent business closings, layoffs, openings, and expansions. However, it is not possible to predict all factors that might influence labor market conditions. Events that take place after the projections base-period ends, or late-breaking announcements concerning new business openings, expansions, closings, or layoffs, are not reflected in the forecasts. A global pandemic is an example of the sort of unexpected, disruptive event that is typically not factored in when creating employment projections. Long-term projections are produced every year, and will incorporate additional trends, including the effects of COVID-19, as they emerge.

Big Industries Add the Most Jobs

Private health care and social assistance is projected to add 1,410 jobs, the most of any sector in Southwestern Oregon. Health care is expected to show the fastest growth among published sectors, up by 14 percent by 2029.  Leisure and hospitality is expected to add 550 jobs by 2029, growing about as fast as the all-industry average. Slower than average growth is projected in retail trade (2%); government (3%); and manufacturing (3%). Net employment loss is forecast for both general merchandise stores (-2%) and information (-10%).
Fast growth in private education and health services (14%) can be attributed to the growth and aging of the area’s population and continued in-migration of older residents. This sector will account for one out of every three new jobs created in Southwestern Oregon by 2029.

Construction is the second-fastest growing industry, as it is expected to grow by 13 percent between 2019 and 2029. Demand for construction will be driven by population and economic growth and continuing remodeling activity with the area’s somewhat older housing stock.

With wood product manufacturing employment projected to be flat during the projections timeline, overall manufacturing is expected to only rise by 3 percent. Faster growth in non-durable goods, such as food and beverage manufacturing, is expected to spur some new manufacturing jobs in the region.

Peak Employment

While overall employment and jobs in many sectors are expected to grow beyond their current levels, some sectors will fall short of their peak employment by 2029. Construction employment is expected to grow by 13 percent to 3,620 jobs. That's still below its all-time high of 3,790 jobs in 2006.

Financial activities should grow by 1 percent to 2,550, below its height of 3,140 also in 2006 as well as 2007. Manufacturing sector employment is projected to grow by 240 jobs to 7,470, about 1,180 jobs below its peak in 2001.
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 private educational and health services, professional and business services, and construction will account for nearly half of all new jobs in Southwestern Oregon. 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

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