Umatilla County’s Job Growth Hits and Misses: 2009-2019

by Dallas Fridley

March 11, 2020

Umatilla County produced a nonfarm employment gain of 590 jobs or 2.1 percent between 2009 and 2019 to average 28,180.
Private industry averaged 20,960 jobs in 2019, an increase of 1,230 or 6 percent over 2009. Government cut 640 jobs over the 10-year period ending in 2019 to average 7,220, a loss of 8 percent.

Private industry grew despite the loss of Umatilla Depot supported jobs in private industry and government. After more than a decade of efforts incinerating the Umatilla Depot’s WWII and cold-war era chemical weapons, professional and business services lost half of its jobs, cutting 1,240 over 2009 to 2019. Professional and business services cut 1,090 jobs from 2009 to 2017 and lost an additional 50 over 2017 to 2019 to average 1,230. Federal government cut 400 jobs (-45%) falling to 490, with all of its losses occurring from 2009 to 2017.

State government job losses were also steep, with a drop of 490 jobs, or 25 percent, between 2009 and 2019, cutting its average to 1,470. A substantial share of state government job losses can be attributed to the reclassification of home health care workers to private industry in 2018. Job losses weighed heavily on the past two years since 2017, with state government cutting 380 jobs, compared with a loss of 110 jobs from 2009 to 2017.

Local government education also landed on the chopping block, cutting 200 jobs, a drop of 11 percent in 10 years, to average 1,600. Local education actually held its own over 2017 to 2019. All of government’s growth occurred in Indian Tribal government, where an increase of 350 jobs (+26%) pushed its average to 1,720 in 2019.

Education and health services led private industry growth from 2009 to 2019, rising by 1,020 jobs to average 3,810, an increase of 37 percent. The industry grew throughout the decade, rising by 640 jobs from 2009 to 2017 plus an additional 380 over the past two years. However, a substantial share of the industry’s 2017 to 2019 job growth was attributed to the reclassification of home care workers from state government.

Manufacturing impressed, rising by 640 jobs over 2009 to 2017 – but job losses since 2017 did cost the industry 200 jobs. Durable goods manufacturing provided most of the industry’s growth, rising by 400 jobs or 40 percent over 2009 to 2019 to average 1,400. Food manufacturing showed promise over 2009-2017, rising by 130 jobs – but a loss of 210 jobs since 2017 cut its total to 1,650 (-5%).

Leisure and hospitality ranked third for its 10-year, 360-job or 16 percent increase. The industry averaged 2,620 jobs in 2019 with an increase of 70 jobs (+3%) over the past two years.

Information had an especially impressive job gain, rising by 230 jobs over the past two years (2017-2019). The industry’s good fortune from 2017 to 2019 contrasted sharply with its 30 job losses between 2009 and 2017. Information’s net 200 job gain since 2009 produced a growth rate of 95 percent!

An honorable mention goes to mining, logging, and construction for its 260 job, or 26 percent, gain from 2009 to 2019 to average 1,270 jobs. Wholesale trade also impressed, adding 210 jobs to average 950, an increase of 28 percent.

Transportation, warehousing, and utilities lost jobs associated with its Hinkle rail-yard closure. The industry performed pretty well from 2009 to 2017, rising by 230 jobs – but that wasn’t enough to blunt the loss of 380 jobs over the past two years. Over the decade, transportation, warehousing, and utilities suffered a net loss of 150 jobs, down 6 percent.


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