Wasco County Employment Falls by 6% in 2020

by Dallas Fridley

April 2, 2021

Wasco County’s nonfarm employment rose by 260 jobs or just 3% over the decade to average 9,620 in 2020. Wasco County’s nonfarm employment actually peaked in 2017, with 10,370 jobs. Losses in 2018 and 2019 cut nonfarm employment by 160 jobs or about 2%. COVID impacts in 2020 resulted in the loss of 590 jobs, a drop of 6%.
< Government lost jobs throughout the 2010-2020 decade. Indian tribal government moved a gaming facility to Jefferson County in 2012, costing Wasco 160 jobs. Then in late 2018, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs closed its long operating Kah-Nee-Ta Resort, eliminating about 140 jobs; Indian tribal government averaged just 10 jobs in 2020.

State government reclassified home care workers in 2018, moving about 100 jobs to private health care. Over the decade, state government lost 70 jobs to average 250 (-22%). Federal government cut 50 jobs between 2010 and 2020 to average 280 (-15%).

Local government education also cut jobs, eliminating 50 from 2010 to 2019, with 30 more lost in 2020, dropping its average to 670. Other local government rose by 60 jobs (+10%) over the Pre-COVID period from 2010 to 2019 but lost 20 to COVID impacts in 2020, falling to 660.

Private industry produced all of Wasco County’s job growth over the decade. Pre-COVID (2010-2019), private industry rose by 1,250 jobs, an increase of 18%. COVID impacts in 2020 cost private industry 590 jobs, a loss of 6%. COVID losses in 2020 cut Wasco County’s growth over the decade by about 42%, leaving an increase of 730 jobs.

Education and health services led private industry’s Pre-COVID growth, rising by 580 jobs or 33% between 2010 and 2019. COVID losses in 2020 cost education and health services 50 jobs, dropping its total to 2,300. Despite the 2020 loss, education and health services still performed well over the 2010-2020 decade, rising by 530 jobs (+30%).

COVID impacts in leisure and hospitality idled 290 jobs in 2020, dropping the industry’s employment by 22% to average 1,050. Pre-COVID, leisure and hospitality rose by 240 jobs or 22% (2010-2019) to reach 1,340. But over the 2010-2020 decade, leisure and hospitality lost 50 jobs, with COVID impacts in 2020 eliminating all of its growth over the prior nine years.

Other services reached a short-lived peak of 400 jobs in 2018. The industry cut 10 jobs in 2019, while its COVID losses in 2020 eliminated 70 more. Other services ended the decade with 320 jobs, matching its 2010 total.

Professional and business services reached 620 jobs in 2018, following two years of solid growth. The industry pulled back in 2019, cutting 50 jobs and then again in 2020 with a loss of 80. Professional and business services still performed pretty well over the decade, rising by 100 jobs or 26%.
Retail trade cut 30 jobs in 2020, falling to 1,640 jobs, a loss of 2%. Pre-COVID (2010-2019), retail trade rose by 100 jobs or 6%, with COVID losses in 2020 cutting its growth over the decade to 70 jobs or 4%.

Information performed exceptionally well in 2020, rising by 50 jobs to average 230 (+28%), matching its 2016 peak. Despite its recent 2020 growth, information rose by a more demure 15% over the decade, up 30 jobs.


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