Baker, Union, and Wallowa counties - designated as Region 13 for administration of workforce programs - are expected to collectively add 2,000 jobs from 2010 to 2020. That's an 11 percent growth rate over 10 years. For the state as a whole, our forecast calls for an 18 percent growth rate.
An 11 percent employment increase certainly would be a welcome change from what's happened in this region since 2007. Yet it wouldn't be out of line with past experiences. Graph 1 shows how a 10-year gain of 11 percent through 2020 would compare with earlier employment changes in Northeast Oregon.
Records for Union County date back to 1962 (statistics for Baker and Wallowa counties go back a little farther), so the first measurable 10-year change for all three counties is the 1962-1972 period, which is the leftmost column in Graph 1. Northeast Oregon experienced rapid job growth in the 1970s, with several years exceeding 30 percent.
In fact, every 10-year block of time yielded some employment growth in Northeast Oregon all the way through 2008. The Great Recession ended that, with 2009 and 2010 each tallying fewer jobs than 10 years earlier. Nevertheless, the average column in Graph 1 reaches a height of 17 percent, even when including the two bars with below-zero values.
We expect the educational and health services industry to add the most jobs (+440) in Region 13 through 2020 (Table 1). Health care has been a growth industry for all three counties in the region, even through the most recent recession. Our aging population made sure of that, and demographic expectations for the next several years should keep that pattern in place.
The region's construction industry leads all others in its forecasted rate of growth over 10 years (+21%). If these predictions come true, Northeast Oregon's construction contractors will add 160 workers. That's not nearly as many as some other industries, but employment in construction starts from a much smaller base.
In fact, even if the region's construction industry grows at the pace predicted here, it still wouldn't return to prerecession employment levels by 2020. The same is true for Northeast Oregon's mining and logging and manufacturing industries. But at least the latest projection for those two industries is up, not down, which hasn't always been the case in the past.
Even though Region 13's outlook lags the statewide growth rate, two local industries surpass the Oregon average. One is the aforementioned manufacturing sector. The other is federal government, where Northeast Oregon's expected "growth" is minus 6 percent, versus minus 8 percent for Oregon.
It's impossible, of course, to know exactly what the future holds, so please accept these statistics in that spirit. We use our industry projections to develop an employment outlook for hundreds of occupations throughout the labor market, which will be the subject of a future article.
|Region 13: Industry Employment Forecast, 2010-2020|
|Baker, Union, and Wallowa Counties|
|Total payroll employment||18,130||20,130||2,000||11%|
|Natural resources and mining||840||970||130||15%|
|Mining and logging||150||170||20||13%|
|Trade, transportation, and utilities||3,450||3,750||300||9%|
|Wholesale and retail trade||2,680||2,920||240||9%|
|Transportation, warehousing, and utilities||770||820||50||6%|
|Professional and business services||830||990||160||19%|
|Educational and health services||2,570||3,010||440||17%|
|Leisure and hospitality||1,730||1,930||200||12%|
|Note: Industry and occupational employment totals are not equal due to rounding.|
|Note: Farm employment is included in natural resources and mining.|