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Job Opportunities Increase

Northwest Oregon is expected to add 16,200 jobs between 2020 and 2030, according to new projections from the Oregon Employment Department for Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, and Tillamook counties. This represents a 16% increase in employment over 10 years. The anticipated growth stems from private-sector gains of 13,880 jobs (19% growth) and the addition of 1,890 jobs (8% growth) in government. The high growth rate is substantially due to the expected recovery of the jobs lost in 2020 from the pandemic recession.

Northwest Oregon had 102,590 jobs in 2020, down from 112,140 in 2019. This included an estimated 5,900 jobs from self-employment. The recovery of jobs lost and anticipated industry growth is expected to push the region’s job count to 118,790 in 2030. The first chart shows employment by major sector in 2020. Government generated 24% of the jobs in Northwest Oregon in 2020. This share is helped considerably by the presence of Oregon State University, which contributed about 60% of the 21,490 local government jobs in the region.

Other large industries in Northwest Oregon in 2020 were trade, transportation, and utilities with 14,570 jobs; private educational and health services with 13,850 jobs; and leisure and hospitality with 13,300 jobs. Leisure and hospitality, which often serves as a proxy for the important tourism trade in the region, lost nearly 4,000 jobs on an annual average basis due to the pandemic recession. In the past it has typically been the largest private-sector industry when measured by employment.

In addition to the nearly 16,200 jobs we expect from recovery and economic growth, another 117,631 job openings will be created by 2030 as workers change occupations or leave for other reasons, such as retirement. This total number is important when considering the capacity of job training and educational programs a region will need to offer in order to have a skilled workforce. Altogether, Northwest Oregon will need nearly 134,000 trained workers over the 10 years to accommodate the region’s growth and replacement of existing workers.

Between 2020 and 2030 there will be job openings in most occupations in Northwest Oregon. In addition to the 16,200 occupational openings from new or expanding businesses, Northwest Oregon employers will also need sufficiently trained workers for 117,600 openings due to the need to replace those leaving their occupations. Replacement openings will make up a majority of total job openings in all major occupational groups and usually far outnumber the openings due to growth.

The top five fastest-growing specific occupations with 100 or more openings are expected to be restaurant cooks (+65%), massage therapists (+48%), exercise trainers (+47%), fast food and counter workers (+46%), and nurse practitioners (+43%). Most of the occupations with many openings and faster growth don’t require a four-year college degree, but they often don’t pay well either. It is still true that most higher-paying occupations require at least some college, post-secondary training, or an apprenticeship. About two-thirds of the occupations will require some sort of education beyond high school in order for candidates to be really competitive in the hiring process.

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