Portland area, including Columbia County, expects to have largest share of job growth over the next 10 years

Things may not look so bright today, but Oregon's employers expect to add about 300,000 jobs in the next 10 years, according to a newly released state Employment Department forecast.

That's a gain of about 18 percent from the previous decade, when the state's payrolls shrank by 1 percent.

The employment forecast found that between 2010 and 2020, the biggest job growth could be in the broad Portland area, with payrolls in Columbia, Clackamas, Multnomah, Yamhill and Washington counties expected to grow about 21 percent. Employers in Lane County are expected to expand their payrolls by about 18 percent.

Other parts of the state are projected to grow at a slower pace, with Eastern Oregon and the Southern Oregon Coast growing slower than other areas, according to the forecast.

Private education and health care services, dominated by health care jobs, are expected to grow by 30 percent and add nearly 68,000 jobs in the next 10 years. Professional and business services will grow by about 27 percent, or roughly 49,000 jobs. Construction could grow by 27 percent, adding nearly 19,000 jobs.

The slowest-growing sector, according to the forecast, is government, with 7 percent growth by 2020, followed by financial activities, with 13 percent growth, and information services, with 14 percent growth.

Even with the projected growth, construction, manufacturing and financial industries are not expected to reach their pre-recession employment levels before the year 2020.

With the job growth, workers leaving their jobs or retirements of older employees could create many job openings. In addition to the 300,000 job openings due to economic growth, state forecasters expect 428,000 openings to replace current workers who leave their occupations. The state expects three of every five occupational openings by 2020 will be due to worker replacement.

Of the 728,000 job openings expected in the next 10 years, only 31 percent will require education beyond high school, according to the Employment Department.

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