Umatilla County Employment Falls in 2020

by Dallas Fridley

April 30, 2021

Umatilla County’s nonfarm employment rose by just 260 jobs or 1% over the decade to average 27,470 in 2020. Nonfarm employment reached a new peak in 2019 with 28,510 jobs, rising by 1,300 jobs or 5% between 2010 and 2019. But the impacts of COVID-19 cost Umatilla County 1,040 jobs in 2020, resulting in a one-year loss of 4%.
Private industry also reached a new peak in 2019, rising by 1,510 jobs between 2010 and 2019 to 28,510, an increase of 8%. COVID impacts in 2020 cut private industry’s total by 650 jobs, a loss of 3%. 2020 job losses cut private industry growth over the decade by 43%, leaving an increase of about 860 jobs (4%).

Decommissioning efforts at the Umatilla Chemical Weapons Depot help to explain the boom and bust cycle professional and business services rode over the decade. Professional and business reached its employment peak back in 2012 and cut 1,000 jobs over the next three years. Next, a large business support center closure in late 2018 contributed to a 180 job loss in 2019, with COVID impacts eliminating 20 more in 2020. Over the decade, professional and business services cut 990 jobs, falling 45% to average 1,210 in 2020.

Government lost jobs over the decade, falling by 600 to average 6,870 in 2020, down 8%. Government actually peaked near the start of the decade, averaging 7,560 jobs in 2011. A loss of 390 jobs hit government in 2018 when state government reclassified home care workers to private industry. COVID impacts cost government 380 jobs (-5%) in 2020.

Federal government averaged 880 jobs in 2010 and subsequently cut 370 jobs over the next three years with the closure of the Umatilla Army Depot. COVID losses in 2020 cost federal government 20 more jobs, dropping its average to 470 jobs, down 47% over the decade.

State government employment fell by 300 jobs or 17% from 2010 to 2020, cutting its average to 1,500. A substantial share of state government’s job loss can be attributed to the reclassification of home care workers to private industry in 2018. State government rebounded somewhat in 2019, adding back 50 jobs, followed by an increase of 10 in 2020.

Local government education produced a gain of 110 jobs (+7%) over 2010 to 2019 but COVID losses in 2020 eliminated 130 (-8%). Local government education ended the decade down 20 jobs, a decline of 1%. Practically all of local government’s growth over the decade belonged with Indian Tribal government. Indian Tribal government cut 110 jobs (-6%) in 2020, falling to 1,610, but the industry still managed an increase of 220 jobs (+16%) over the decade.

Education and health services led private industry’s pre-COVID growth, rising by 1,030 jobs or 34% between 2010 and 2019. COVID losses in 2020 cost education and health services just 10 jobs, dropping its total to 4,040. Some of the industry’s growth, around 300 jobs, can be attributed to the reclassification of home care workers from state government in 2018.

Manufacturing reached its peak in 2017 when the industry averaged 3,540 jobs. In 2020, manufacturing cut its employment by 270 jobs or 8%, dropping its average to 3,060. Unfortunately 2020 followed back-to-back losses in 2018 and 2019 that eliminated 210 jobs.

COVID impacts in leisure and hospitality idled 370 jobs in 2020, dropping the industry’s employment by 14% to average 2,260. Pre-COVID, leisure and hospitality rose by 390 jobs or 17% (2010-2019) to reach 2,630. But over the 2010-2020 decade, leisure and hospitality rose by just 20 jobs, with COVID impacts in 2020 eliminating nearly all of its growth over the prior nine years.
Information had an especially impressive job gain in 2020, rising by 60 jobs to average 470, up 15%. The 2020 increase capped three years of solid growth during which the industry rose by 290 jobs.

Retail trade rose by 80 jobs in 2020, its best performance over the decade, climbing to 3,300, an increase of 2%. Pre-COVID (2010-2019), retail trade rose by 120 jobs or 4%.

Mining, logging, and construction impressed with its 35% increase over 2010 to 2020, rising by 340 jobs to average 1,310. The industry performed well in 2020, adding 40 jobs (+3%).

Wholesale trade also performed well over the decade despite cutting jobs in 2020. The industry rose by 190 jobs or 26% over the decade to total 920. A loss of 30 jobs (-3%) in 2020 didn’t slow down wholesale trade by much.

Transportation, warehousing, and utilities ended the decade in about the same place it started. The industry peaked in 2016 with 2,910 jobs, but losses associated with Union Pacific’s Hinkle rail-yard closure weighed heavily on 2018 and 2019 with 320 jobs lost. In 2020, transportation, warehousing, and utilities cut 50 jobs (-2%), thus eliminating its 40 job, pre-COVID gain (2010-2019).

 


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