This month, the State of Oregon Employment Department published a 44 page report on the status of employment and recession recovery in rural Oregon. By their definition, Wasco County is included in list of counties analyzed.
Wasco County fares significantly better than many other rural counties in terms of job gains since the pre-recession (2007) peak; we are currently seeing a positive 7.2% increase in jobs above numbers seen before the recession.
Aging population, low natural growth rate (birth and death), and lack of critical infrastructure are just some of the challenges facing rural Oregon. While there is a projected 10 to 14 percent job growth for Wasco County over the next eight years, including a high level of replacement opportunities (job vacancies created by retirement), many of the trends towards low wage jobs in rural areas will be amplified by barriers to new investment including infrastructure gaps, limited skilled workforce, and less diverse economies.