Eastern Oregon Workforce Growing Most Rapidly Among the Youngest and Oldest

by Tony Wendel

May 5, 2024

From 2013 to 2023, Eastern Oregon’s employment grew by a about 12%. However, employment growth varied widely by age group. While most age groups saw growth over that time period, employment for workers age 45 to 54 was essentially unchanged and employment for workers age 55 to 64 declined. The most rapid growth occurred at the two ends of the age spectrum.
Graph showing Eastern Oregon Workforce Change in Employment by Age, 2013 to 2023

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators, annual average employment for Eastern Oregon (Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa counties) grew from 66,442 in 2013 to 74,399 in 2023. In 2013, the 45 to 54-year-old age group held the largest number of jobs in Eastern Oregon at 14,833, representing just above 22% of the area’s total employment. Employment of workers in this age group rose to 14,841 in 2023, making up about 20% of Eastern Oregon’s total employment and leaving the age group a slight 0.1% above the 2013 level. This lack of growth dropped the age group to third for the largest number of jobs in Eastern Oregon for 2023 behind the 35 to 44-year-old and the 25 to 34-year-old age groups. The only age group with declining employment over the period was the 55 to 64-year-old group, falling from 12,724 in 2013 to 12,170 in 2023, a decline of over 4%.

During this same period of time, the most rapid employment growth in Eastern Oregon was among the 14 to 18-year-old age group followed by those workers 65 and over. Employment of those ages 14 to 18 grew from 1,185 in 2013 to 2,337 in 2023, a growth rate of just over 97%. This age group is still the smallest, representing only about 3% of all employment in Eastern Oregon. The 65 and over age group grew by about 56%, rising from 4,302 in 2013 to 6,715 in 2023 to account for about 9% of Eastern Oregon’s employment.
Graph showing Eastern Oregon Employment by Age Group, 2023

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