Eastern Oregon Workforce Growing Most Rapidly Among the Youngest and Oldest

by Tony Wendel

May 9, 2023

From 2012 to 2022, Eastern Oregon’s employment grew by a little over 10%. However, employment growth varied widely by age group. While most age groups saw growth over that time period, employment for workers age 45 to 54 and workers age 55 to 64 declined. The most rapid growth occurred at each end of the age spectrum.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators, annual average employment for Eastern Oregon (Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa counties) grew from 65,725 in 2012 to 72,565 in 2022. In 2012, the 45 to 54-year-old age group held the largest number of jobs in Eastern Oregon at 15,049, representing about 23% of the area’s total employment. Employment of workers in this age group fell to 14,443 in 2022, making up about 20% of Eastern Oregon’s total employment and leaving the age group 4% below the 2012 level.
Graph showing Eastern Oregon workforce change in employment by age, 2012 to 2022

During this same period of time, the most rapid employment growth in Eastern Oregon was among the 14 to 18-year old age group followed by those workers 65 and over. Employment of those age 14 to 18 grew from 1,164 in 2012 to 2,100 in 2022, a growth rate of just over 80%. This age group is still the smallest, representing only about 3% of all employment in Eastern Oregon. The 65 and over age group grew by almost 58%, rising from 4,061 in 2012 to 6,398 in 2022 to account for about 9% of Eastern Oregon’s employment.

Graph showing Eastern Oregon employment by age group, 2022

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