Central Oregon adds jobs at faster pace
Central Oregon is projected to add jobs at a faster pace than any other part of the state over the next 10 years. That is not an uncommon position for Central Oregon to be in, as the region was expected to be the fastest growing in the previous iteration of the employment projections.
Regional job growth is being fueled by a growing population, an aging population, and the continuing transformation of the economy from a rural job base to a more urban composition.
The three-county region (Jefferson, Crook and Deschutes counties) is expected to add nearly 15,000 jobs by 2027, a growth rate of 15 percent. Central Oregon, along with the Portland-metro area (up 13 percent) are the only regions expected to grow faster than the statewide pace of 12 percent.
Although the region is expected to see nearly 15,000 new jobs added over the next 10 years, the number of job openings is expected to be far larger in order to replace retiring workers and those moving to new occupations.
It is expected that for every job opening due to economic growth there will be eight job openings due to workers leaving the occupation for reasons such as retirements, leaving the labor force, or moving to a new occupation. Together, the growth and replacements add up to nearly 137,000 job openings by 2027.
Unlike at the statewide level, where health care is expected to be the fastest growing sector, it is projected that construction will be Central Oregon's fastest growing industry sector, expanding by 35 percent by 2027 (up 2,350 jobs). Construction growth is largely a reflection of continued demand for housing due to rapid population growth, however commercial components of the industry are also expected to see fast job growth.
The industry expected to add the most jobs is health care and social assistance (up 2,540 jobs). There will be continued demand for health practitioners, caregivers, and other health-related occupations as the aging baby boomer population increases its use of health services.
Another industry expected to see rapid growth is professional and business services (up 1,820 jobs). That follows several years of strong growth in the professional sector in the most recent economic expansion.
No major industry sector is expected to lose jobs over the next 10 years, however a handful of subsectors, including wood product manufacturing (down 50 jobs); mining and logging (down 10 jobs), and federal government (down 20 jobs) are expected to see modest losses over the forecast period.
Although the wood product sector is expected to lose jobs, the broad manufacturing sector is actually expected to see healthy growth, expanding by 13 percent (adding 950 jobs).
Government employment is expected to rise by a modest 3 percent (up 440 jobs). Local government employment, in particular local education, is expected to grow at a faster pace (up 6 percent). Those gains are largely a reflection of increased demand for public services due to a larger population and the continued build out of the Oregon State University Cascades campus.
Occupational growth is expected to follow many of the industry trends, with the following occupational groups expected to see growth in excess of 20 percent by 2027: construction and extraction occupations (up 32.1 percent); computer and mathematical occupations (up 23.3 percent); architecture and engineering occupations (up 23 percent); and business and financial operations occupations (up 21 percent).
Despite fast growth in those professional occupational groups, openings are expected to be dominated by food preparation and serving, office support, retail sales, construction, and service occupations. The growth in job openings in those occupational groups is due to higher rates of turnover.
It is important to remember that Central Oregon's economy is unlikely to perfectly mimic the employment projections over the next 10 years. The projections will be updated in two years as more information becomes available.
Complete tables of the employment projections can be found on www.qualityinfo.org/pubs. Projections for all regions of Oregon can be found under the Employment Projections section.