Thursday, August 7, 2014

More Workers Ages 65+ in Oregon's Labor Force

Our recently updated report, Oregon's Falling Labor Force Participation: A Story of Baby Boomers, Youth, and the Great Recession, notes that continuing declines are expected among younger workers, while participation rates are on the rise for older workers.

An excerpt from the report explains further:

"All Oregon age groups under the age of 55 are expected to have decreases in their labor force participation rate (LFPR) from 2013 to 2022. The steepest declines in labor force participation are expected among Oregon’s younger workers, continuing a trend of declining participation that began in the late 1990s with rising rates of school enrollment. This downward trend accelerated over the past decade, during which Oregon’s economy struggled to add employment. 

Oregon’s prime working age population (ages 25 to 54) is expected to experience declines
in labor force participation ranging from -0.3 to -0.5 percentage point; not nearly as sharp as the decline projected for Oregon’s 16-to-24 age group. Oregon’s population groups ages 55 to 64 and 65 and older are expected to have LFPR growth of 2.7 and 4.1 percentage points, respectively."

Our labor force participation report shows, from calculations based off data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that the labor force participation rate for those ages 65 and older in Oregon is expected to rise from an estimated 14.5 percent in 2013 to 18.6 percent in 2022. 

Last week we fielded a related request, for the share of the population ages 65 or older in the labor force in each Oregon county. Using 2008-2012 estimates from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, we found that the statewide labor force participation rate for those 65+ was roughly 14 percent. At the county level, participation rates ranged from 8 percent in Crook County to 27 percent in Wheeler County. In general, the lowest labor force participation rates among older workers tended to occur in Central and Southwest Oregon, while higher rates were more common in the Northwest, Portland, and Columbia Gorge areas.

For more information about labor force participation in Oregon, check out our full report.

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