2022-2032 Employment Projections in Linn and Benton Counties

by Pat O'Connor

January 29, 2024

Linn and Benton counties will combine to add more than 9,300 jobs between 2022 and 2032, according to new projections from the Oregon Employment Department. This represents a 9% increase in employment over the 10-year period. The anticipated growth stems from private-sector gains of 7,800 jobs (11%) and growth of nearly 1,200 jobs (5%) in government. This projected 9% growth rate is slower than the 16% growth seen over the past decade in Linn and Benton counties. One reason for the strong 16% growth is that 2012 was still in the depths of the Great Recession. Growing from a low point in the business cycle is a big reason Linn and Benton counties showed such fast employment growth from 2012 to 2022.

Beyond gains from economic growth, an additional 116,141 job openings will be created by 2032 as workers change occupations or leave for other reasons, such as retirement.

The 2022 to 2032 employment projections bring together several ongoing trends over the past few years as well as new ones resulting from the COVID-19 recession. A fast-growing health care sector has been taking place for a number of years, due in part to an aging population. However, health care is showing slower projected growth than has been projected in recent projection cycles. Another long-term trend is public sector employment growing more slowly than private sector employment. A newer trend is rapid job growth in the leisure and hospitality sector as it continues to recover from the COVID-19 recession.

Graph showing Projected Employment Change in Linn and Benton Counties 2022-2032

Industry Projections

There will be job growth in all of the broad private-sector industry groups. The region’s private educational and health services sector – of which hospitals are a big part – is projected to add the most jobs (+2,080 jobs). This is followed by the leisure and hospitality sector (+1,350 jobs). Leisure and hospitality is also projected to be the fastest growing sector, growing 17% over the 10-year period. Trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,160 jobs) and professional and business services (+1,150 jobs) are the other sectors projected to add over 1,000 jobs by 2032.

The construction industry will grow, adding 660 jobs or 15% by 2032. Construction’s 15% growth is the second fastest rate of any sector, second only to leisure and hospitality.

In the public sector, federal government employment is projected to shed 10 jobs from 2022 to 2032, declining 1%. State government is projected to add 30 jobs over the decade. Local government employment is projected to grow by 1,150 jobs over the decade, with 700 of those jobs within local government education. Local government education includes local school districts (K-12) as well as Oregon State University, which moved from state government to local government in 2014.

Occupational Projections

Between 2022 and 2032, there will be job openings in all occupations. In addition to the more than 9,300 occupational openings from new or expanding businesses, Linn-Benton employers will also need sufficiently trained workers for the more than 114,000 openings due to the need to replace those workers leaving their occupations. Replacement openings will make up most of the job openings in all major occupational groups in Linn and Benton counties.

Linn and Benton counties’ economic diversity is demonstrated by the occupational group projected to have the most job openings; service occupations are expected to have nearly 27,000 openings from 2022 to 2032. Service occupations includes jobs as varied as emergency services, pest control workers, and fast food cooks. It includes many occupations that were most impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Table showing Fastest Growing Occupations in Linn and Benton Counties: 2022-2032

Other large occupational groups are professional and related occupations, office and administrative occupations, and sales and related occupations. Professional occupations, which include web developers, engineers, and lawyers, tend to pay higher wages and require higher levels of education.

Health care, construction, and service occupations are the three groups growing fastest, driven in large part by the aging population and recession recovery trends. Four of the top ten fastest growing specific occupations in Linn and Benton counties are in health care.

Table showing Occupations With the Most Job Openings in Linn and Benton Counties: 2022-2032

In terms of actual job counts though, fast food and counter workers, educational instruction workers, home health and personal care aides, stockers and order fillers, and cashiers are the five occupations with the most job openings anticipated in the coming 10 years. These are all large occupations, and they will all experience some openings due to economic growth and many more due to the retirement or other departures of existing workers.

Other Regional Projections

All areas of Oregon expect to see job opportunities due to both economic growth and to replace workers leaving the labor force or leaving their occupation in the coming years. The two regions projected to grow fastest from 2022 to 2032 are the Portland area (12%) and Central Oregon (12%). Linn and Benton counties’ employment is projected to grow 9%, nearly matching Oregon’s statewide rate of 10%.

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