Labor Force Demographics

The 2015 population estimates indicate that Lane County is the fourth most-populous county in Oregon and the third-most populous metropolitan statistical area (MSA) after the Portland and Salem areas.  The county’s 362,150 residents are concentrated within a relatively small region around the Eugene and Springfield urban area. Sixty-nine percent of the county’s residents live in incorporated cities within a 30 mile radius of Eugene.

The age distribution of Lane County’s population has a higher proportion of its population in the young-adult (20-29) age group. The higher concentration of young adults can be easily explained by the fact that the University of Oregon and Lane Community College enroll thousands of out-of-county people.

The statewide and county age distributions have two distinct high points, the age group that includes 45 to 64 year olds and the age group that includes 15 to 34 year olds.  The former represents the baby-boom generation and the latter, the millennials.  While baby-boomers are reaching retirement age, the millennials are in the early stages of their working years.  The result may be a temporary skill shortage as more people retire than there are skilled people to replace them.  How serious this skill gap will become is uncertain.  Either way, the aging of the baby boomers should create opportunities for younger people with the right skills and education.

Lane County’s population grew 3% between 2010 and 2015 compared to 4.8% statewide, ranking it the 18th fastest.  Long-term projections indicate that the county’s population will continue to increase but the rate of growth will remain below the projected statewide growth rate.  According to forecasts by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, Office of Economic Analysis, the total increase in Lane County’s population in the 20-year period between 2010 and 2030 is expected to amount to 58,237 people, or 17% compared with 24% growth statewide.

Veteran Labor Force Data – According to the U.S. Census Buerau’s 2010 – 2014 American Community Survey, veterans in Lane County consistently have higher unemployment rates than non-veterans, especially younger (Gulf War Era II) veterans and older (Vietnam era) veterans.  In Lane County, younger veterans unemployment is 22.4% compared to 14.1% for non-veterans.