While jobs in the state have taken a hit this year due to the fallout from the coronavirus, the situation is expected to improve and Oregon’s total employment will grow by more than 180,000 jobs over the next decade, according to new projections from the Oregon Employment Department.

The projections point to modest job growth between 2019 and 2029, although many job openings are expected due to the need to replace workers who leave their occupations.

In 2019, there were 2.1 million jobs in Oregon. The projected 9% increase in employment between 2019 and 2029 includes private-sector gains of 156,400 jobs, growth of 16,500 jobs in government and an additional 8,900 self-employed Oregonians.

Beyond gains from economic growth, another 255,300 job openings are expected to be created on average each year through 2029 to replace workers who retire, leave the labor force for other reasons, or make a major occupational change. Together, the number of job openings due to economic growth and replacements will total an annual average of 273,500, according to the OED projections.

All private sectors in Oregon are expected to add jobs over the next decade. Private health care and social assistance are expected to lead all industries in new job growth. The projected gain of 46,300 new jobs — which amounts to 15% growth — in health care is attributed to continued growth and aging of the state’s population. Health care will account for one out of every five new jobs created in Oregon by 2029, the OED said.

Health care also tops the list of Oregon’s fastest-growing occupations over the 10-year period. Healthcare occupations and those associated with healthcare, including mental health, account for 13 of the 20 fastest-growing occupations from 2019 to 2029 among occupations with at least 1,000 jobs in Oregon. They include physician and medical assistants, nurse practitioners, substance abuse and mental health counselors, massage and respiratory therapists, and home health aides.

Oregon’s second fastest-growing industry is expected to be professional and business services, which is projected to add 33,000 new jobs, or a 13% increase, in the next decade. Professional and business services includes legal and architectural services, computer systems design, temporary employment agencies, corporate offices, and a variety of other businesses. Software developers, operations research analysts, market research analysts and marketing specialists, and financial managers are also among the fastest-growing occupations statewide.

A broad variety of career opportunities are also expected to be available across all sectors as well as all job types, the OED said. One-third of all job openings will require education or training beyond high school at the typical entry-level education. To meet more competitive education requirements, nearly half of all job openings require at least some training beyond high school, according to the OED estimates.

Occupations with the most job openings typically requiring a high school diploma or less include retail salespersons, food preparation and serving workers, and cashiers. Those requiring a postsecondary certification or associate’s degree include truck drivers, bookkeepers, and nursing and medical assistants. Occupations with the most total openings requiring at least a bachelor’s degree vary from general and operations managers to registered nurses, software developers, and accountants.

All areas of Oregon are expect to see job opportunities due to both economic growth and to replace workers leaving the labor force in the coming years. The two regions projected to grow at the fastest rates are Central Oregon (12%) and the Portland area (11%), according to the OED.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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