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Oregon's Labor Participation Is Declining

The segment of Oregon’s population that is working or wants a job is shrinking. And officials say the labor force participation rate will continue to drop for another seven years.

A new state study looks at those who are 16 or older and are working or actively looking for work.

State officials name three major reasons for falling labor participation rates:  fewer young people are working, the population is aging, and Oregon is still feeling the results of the Great Recession.

Nick Beleiciks, a State Employment Economist, says, “The labor force participation rate among younger people has fallen quite a bit. And this fifteen year-old trend is not just caused by the recession, but, back in the late nineties, about sixty percent of teenagers were either working or looking for work and that rate has fallen to thirty-five and a half percent.”

Beleiciks says that may be because young people are going to college instead of entering the workforce.

Oregon’s labor force participation rate ranks 31 among the 50 states.

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