NW Oregon’s Health Care and Social Assistance Industry

by Shawna Sykes

December 6, 2021

In 2020, Northwest Oregon’s health care and social assistance industry made up about 15% of the region’s total employment. This made health care and social assistance the largest sector for the five-county area including Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, and Tillamook counties with an average of 13,733 jobs, total payroll of over $763 million and 1,628 business establishments. Employment in the industry was down slightly (-2.8%) from its 2019 level of 14,137 jobs but up by 21% (+2,386 jobs) from its level ten years ago. Benton County had the region’s largest share of the sector’s employment (43%), followed by Clatsop (20%), Lincoln (16%), Columbia (11%), and Tillamook (10%).

Northwest Oregon’s employment in this industry is made up of four sub-sectors, hospitals (33%), ambulatory health care services (26%), social assistance services (26%) and nursing and residential care facilities (15%).

The growth rate has been highest in the social assistance sector which includes home care workers, mental health providers, community pantries, youth and senior organizations, preschools, child care, workforce training, and other community programs, up 64% since 2010. Ambulatory health care services had the second highest growth rate (+26%) adding 734 jobs in the past 10 years, followed by hospitals (+18%) adding 671 jobs. Nursing and residential care facilities was the only subsector to show a decline in jobs (-16% or 412 jobs) since 2010.

In 2020, the average annual wage for the health care and social assistance sector in NW Oregon was $55,569, higher than the average wage for the region across all industries of $48,993. Average wages varied greatly within the subsectors with hospitals having the highest average wage ($80,520), ambulatory health care the second highest ($64,773), followed by nursing and residential care facilities ($32,067), and social assistance ($28,798).


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