Friday, December 14, 2012

Innovation Changes the Oregon Economy

Every other year, the Oregon Employment Department forecasts industry and occupational employment 10 years into the future. Our current forecast looks forward to the year 2020 based on the economy of 2010. Over that period of time every major industry is forecast to grow from the depths of the severe recession of late 2007 to mid-2009.

However, two key industries, construction and manufacturing, are not forecast to fully recover all the jobs they lost in the Great Recession. Today, manufacturing represents about 10 percent of all jobs in Oregon, down from 15 percent 20 years ago.

A few minor industries are forecast to continue to decline in this decade. Among them: the postal service, paper manufacturing, newspaper and book publishers, and telecommunications. Similarly, very little growth is projected for book and music stores

Along with the weak recovery forecasted for the construction and manufacturing industries, most occupations in those businesses are not expected to recover all the jobs lost at the end of the last decade. For example, in 2008 there were 5,550 welders in Oregon. The forecast for 2020 predicts 5,215 welders. In 2008, there were 9,323 production assemblers. The forecast is for 7,703 in 2020. In fact, there are forecast to be a total of 122,556 people working in all production-related occupations in 2020, down 2 percent from 2008.

Though many manufacturing and construction jobs are expected to recover most, but not all, of the positions lost in the Great Recession, certain occupations are forecast to continue to shrink even as the Oregon economy recovers. The 2020 forecast predicts a 10 percent decline in the number of news reporters, a 20 percent decline in postal workers and a 3 percent decline in printing press operators.

The Internet is the common force pressuring businesses in these diverse industries. Though the trend toward digital telecommunication is strong, more traditional businesses may hold their own or slim down, but are unlikely to disappear.

This piece was published in the December issue of Oregon Labor Trends. You can find more information in the full article , written by Workforce Analyst Christian Kaylor.

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