What’s Going On With Oregon Jobs?

Oregon is climbing back after COVID. That means jobs are coming. Oregon has regained nearly nine out of every ten jobs that were lost in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic brought everything to a halt. A devastated state and global economy lay in it’s wake.

Studies are showing that jobs are not coming back evenly around the state. Cities all over the state are leading the charge. Portland is not one of them. Bend is ahead of the pack. Bend recovered the equivalent of the jobs it lost during the pandemic by January 2022. Hospitality and leisure started to rebound earlier in central Oregon than in other parts of the state.

Oregon in general has regained nearly nine out of every 10 jobs that were lost two years ago. Early shutdowns in 2020 led to a 50% drop in total employment for restaurants and hotels. In July 2020 the industry was only down around 17% from 2019 levels.

Bend metropolitan area has continued to add jobs since winter. Payrolls are now exceeding pre-pandemic levels by 1,760 jobs. Nearby Crook County surpassed its pre-COVID employment levels by 540 jobs. Columbia River Gorge, Hood River and Umatilla counties are on the verge of adding back nearly all of the thousands of jobs they lost during the pandemic. The area has restored 96% of the more than 5,000 jobs lost.

Salem, Albany and Grants Pass are seeing good numbers as we. Salem was short 500 jobs out of a total of more than 22,000 jobs lost. Albany was down 190 jobs out of 5,800 jobs lost, and Grants Pass was missing only 180 jobs out of 3,420 lost. Multnomah County jobs have not returned. It has recovered only a little more than half of its lost jobs according to numbers kept by the Oregon Employment Department. 

Experts say that manufacturing and private education sectors remain down in Multnomah County. While warehouse expansions occurred in other parts of Oregon, they were less of a job creator in Portland. Clackamas and Washington counties, where 95% and 84% of jobs have returned, respectively.

Some of the state’s least populous counties — Lake and Wheeler counties for instance are at opposite ends of the job recovery chart. 

College towns of Eugene and Corvallis have recovered roughly three out of every four jobs lost during the pandemic.