Between the second quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009, Oregon’s rural counties lost almost 27,000 private-sector jobs. Rural Oregon’s high-wage industries – such as wood product manufacturing, specialty trade contractors, and forestry and logging – dropped more than 11,000 jobs in the Great Recession. Mid-wage industries dropped about 6,000 jobs in rural Oregon, and lower-wage industries lost 9,000 jobs.
The higher-wage industries have added 6,000 jobs, little more than half of the jobs lost between 2007 and 2009. Jobs in higher-wage construction of buildings, specialty trade contractors, and wood product manufacturing remain more than 20 percent below the level in 2007. The economy has been strong in recent years in much of the state. Unemployment rates are below their long-term averages and job growth has occurred in all areas of the state. Even when an economy isn’t growing fast, there’s enough churn in the labor market that job opportunities due to the need to replace workers who leave their occupations are still expected.
Statewide, 63 percent of total projected job openings between 2014 and 2024 are expected due to the need to replace workers, and the other 37 percent are due to growth. The Northwest Oregon region includes two metropolitan counties and three non-metropolitan counties along the coast. Northwest Oregon can anticipate 7,400 openings due to growth and another 24,200 to replace workers who leave their occupations. Industries with the greatest anticipated replacement openings include education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and retail trade. Regional manufacturers can anticipate needing to fill more than 2,000 openings to replace current workers by 2024.