Thursday, March 23, 2017

How Much Women Earn in Oregon

More than 848,000 jobs at Oregon businesses or state and local governments were held by women in 2015. Women represent 49 percent of employment in Oregon, but the share of jobs held by women varies considerably by industry.

Women’s average earnings were $3,375 per month in 2015, which was 69 percent of the $4,868 average monthly earnings of men. The average woman brings home nearly $1,500 a month less than the average man. Like employment, the earnings of women relative to men vary by industry.

The average monthly paycheck for women is about two-thirds the average monthly paycheck for men, but this fact is not a very useful measure of gender pay inequality. Average monthly earnings figures do not take into account other factors affecting pay, such as total hours worked and hourly wages. Adjusting for the number of hours worked narrows the earnings gap between women and men, but still does not account for other factors that can significantly affect pay.

Women’s Average Earnings by Industry

Average monthly earnings of women were lower than that of men in every industry. The ratio of women’s to men’s earnings ranged from a relatively close 87 percent in accommodation and food services to a disparate 55 percent in finance and insurance. There are many factors behind these disparities in earnings, such as the number of hours worked and the relative wages of occupations with higher concentrations of women, but that information is not available from this data source.

Women working in Oregon’s health care and social assistance sector have an average monthly paycheck of $3,641, which is just 62 percent of the men’s average. Women working in finance and insurance have a higher average paycheck than women in most other industries, but their earnings pale in comparison to what men are bringing in. With earnings just 55 percent of men’s, women in finance and insurance receive an average of $3,900 a month less than what men are making.

The smallest disparity is in accommodation and food services, where women’s earnings average 87 percent that of men’s. The large share of minimum wage earners in this industry likely contributes to this relative earnings equality. That near equity has a cost though, as average paychecks of both women and men were lower in accommodation and food services than in any other major industry.

Read the full article "Where Women Work and How Much They Earn" written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Reaches Record Low 4.0 Percent in February

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.0 percent in February, from 4.3 percent in January. This was the lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1976. Oregon’s 4.0 percent unemployment rate was significantly lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.7 percent in February.

In February, the number of unemployed Oregonians dropped to about 82,000, which was the lowest number since August 1995 when about 82,000 were unemployed. By contrast, the labor force has grown from just under 1.7 million in 1995 to over 2.0 million today. 

In February, nonfarm payroll employment surged ahead by 8,200 following a revised gain of 700 in January. Government grew the most of the major sectors, as it added 4,400 jobs, rebounding from a loss of 3,400 jobs in January. Similarly, health care and social assistance shot up by 2,400 jobs in February following a loss of 1,700 the prior month. Manufacturing added 1,300 after a loss of 200 in January. Construction continued to grow rapidly by adding 900 jobs in February, following a strong gain of 2,500 in January. Only one major industry cut more than 600 jobs in February as transportation, warehousing and utilities shed 1,400.

Over the past 12 months, payroll employment added 39,900 jobs, or 2.2 percent, which was a slight deceleration from the growth rate near or above 3 percent throughout much of the past four years. Oregon is still growing faster than the U.S. growth rate of 1.6 percent.

Read the Oregon Employment Department's full press release

Monday, March 20, 2017

Oregon’s Job Growth 8th Fastest Among the States

Oregon had the eighth fastest job growth among the states from January 2016 to January 2017. Adding 43,200 jobs for a growth rate of 2.4 percent, Oregon’s solid job growth was much slower than first ranked Idaho (+4.0%) and second ranked Nevada (+3.5%). Oregon’s job growth rate was nestled between Washington (2.8%) and California (2.0%) growth rates.

Most states added jobs over the last year. States that had job losses are heavily dependent on the energy sector: Wyoming (-3.2%), Alaska (-2.7%), North Dakota (-0.7%), Oklahoma (-0.6%), West Virginia (-0.6%), Louisiana (-0.4%), and Kansas (-0.2%). These states have seen large job losses in their mining sectors over the last year.

Oregon’s growth rate last year was faster than the U.S. rate of 1.6 percent. That’s not unusual; Oregon has been adding jobs faster than the U.S. since 2013.

Construction Sector Ranked 2nd Fastest

Looking at job growth rankings by industry sector shows that many areas of Oregon’s economy were adding jobs at a fast pace. Growth was very strong in Oregon’s mining, logging, and construction sector; in financial activities; and in other services.
The number of jobs grew by 10.3 percent in Oregon’s mining, logging, and construction sector, which ranked second among the states behind Idaho’s growth rate of 11.0 percent. Oregon’s growth was entirely due to construction jobs because mining and logging lost jobs. These sectors are combined in this analysis to allow for comparisons across all states. Not every state has published data for either mining and logging or construction, but all states have data for the combined sectors. Alaska ranked last, losing 13.3 percent of the jobs in this sector during the last 12 months.

Learn more about other fastest growing industries in the article "Oregon’s Job Growth 8th Fastest Among the States" written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks

Monday, March 13, 2017

An Overview of Oregon’s Labor Force in 2016

Oregon’s 2016 annual average labor force figures have arrived. Here’s a quick overview of the numbers.

Total population = 4,093,000
-          Civilian noninstitutional population, 16 years and over = 3,274,000
o   Civilian labor force = 2,061,000
§  Employed = 1,960,000
§  Unemployed = 101,000
o   Not in labor force = 1,213,000
-          Under 16 years old, on active duty in the military, or living in an institutional setting = 819,000

The 819,000 people are not counted in the labor force statistics because they are not likely to participate in the labor market since they are under 16 years old, on active duty in the military, or living in an institutional setting, such as a correctional institution or a residential nursing or mental health facility.

The 1,213,000 who are not in the labor force are not actively looking for work. Half of these people are retired, one-eighth have a disability that is keeping them out of the labor force, and the rest have some other reason for not looking for work (usually family care or full-time school).

The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed divided by the labor force, so 101,000/2,061,000 = 4.9 percent. This annual average rate for 2016 tied with 1995 as a record low for Oregon going back to 1976, the earliest we have comparable records.

Another key indicator is the labor force participation rate, which is the civilian labor force divided by the civilian noninstitutional population, 16 years and over, so 2,061,000/3,274,000 = 63.0 percent. The labor force participation rate receives more attention than it used to because long term it’s on a downward trend in Oregon and the U.S. That's due to more baby boomers reaching retirement age and leaving the labor force, and fewer teenagers joining the labor force than in past generations. See more in our report Oregon’s Falling Labor Force Participation: A Story of Baby Boomers, Youth, and the Great Recession.

Written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleicks.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Reached a Record Low of 4.3 Percent in January

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in January, from 4.5 percent in December. This was the lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1976. Revised figures show Oregon’s unemployment rate has been on a declining trend over the past seven years. Outside of the past 12 months, the only other time, over the past forty years, that Oregon’s rate reached below 5 percent was between November 1994 and September 1995 when the rate dropped as low as 4.7 percent. In January, the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.8 percent.

In January, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2,600, which was less than the average of 3,500 jobs added per month over the past six months. Monthly growth was strongest in construction, which added 2,100 jobs, and retail trade, which added 1,200. Monthly losses were largest in health care and social assistance (-1,100 jobs) and government (-1,100).

Newly revised payroll employment figures show a slowdown in the overall rate of job gains in recent months, following quite rapid gains during the prior few years. Over the past 12 months, payroll employment added 43,200 jobs, or 2.4 percent. Growth was very fast in construction, which added 10,000 jobs, or 11.5 percent. In that time several major industries grew rapidly, by close to 4 percent: transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+2,600 jobs, or 4.4%); financial activities (+3,700 jobs, or 3.9%); information (+1,200 jobs, or 3.6%); and health care and social assistance (+8,000 jobs, or 3.5%). Meanwhile only two industries cut jobs in that time: manufacturing (-1,400 jobs, or -0.7%) and mining and logging (-200 jobs, or -2.6%). 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sweet Job-Related Facts for Valentine's Day

Happy birthday Oregon, and happy Valentine's day to our readers! Because we love numbers and holidays (and candy), today we will share some Valentine's Day stats with you.

Be Mine

30.2 and 27.9
The median age of Oregon men and women at first marriage in 2015.

The percentage of Oregonians 15 and older who were married in 2015. 

The number of Oregonians ages 15 and over in 2015 who had never married.

The number of dating service establishments nationwide as of 2012 according to the Economic Census of the U.S. Census Bureau. These establishments, which include internet dating services, employed 2,348 people.

Sweets for my Sweet


Oregon chocolate confectionery manufacturers in 2015 making chocolates to share with that special someone, or to treat yourself! These firms employed 331 employees and paid nearly $7.5 million in wages.

Oregon non-chocolate confectionery manufacturers in 2015 making candy bars, synthetic chocolate, toffees, marshmallows, candy-covered popcorn products, nuts, chewing gum, and candied fruits and fruit peel. These manufacturers employed 352 employees and paid $10 million in wages.

The number of florist establishments creating sweet-smelling flower arrangements statewide in 2015. They employed 636 workers and paid $9.8 million in wages.

The number of stores in Oregon with jewelry for your Valentine.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Oregon Job Vacancies Top 61,000 in 2016

Oregon businesses had 50,800 job vacancies at any given time in 2016. That’s an increase of 5 percent from 48,100 in 2015. Most job openings were for full-time and permanent positions. As unemployment remained near record lows in 2016, employers faced challenges finding workers. They reported difficulty filling 64 percent of vacancies, most often citing a lack of applicants.

Health care and social assistance reported the most vacancies (10,200) by industry, while leisure and hospitality job openings totaled 6,200. Construction vacancies boomed in 2016; the sector had 5,800 job openings, compared with 3,400 in 2015. That reflects the industry’s rapid expansion, which was nearly twice as fast as all nonfarm payroll job growth from 2015 to 2016. Together health care, leisure and hospitality, and construction accounted for almost half (44%) of all job vacancies last year.

Beyond those industries, Oregon businesses were hiring broadly across the economy in 2016. Seven different sectors had at least 4,000 job vacancies, and employers reported vacancies for 395 different occupations. Occupations with the most job openings varied from personal care aides and registered nurses to plumbers and carpenters, administrative assistants, production workers, and truck drivers.

Job vacancies with education requirements beyond high school offered far higher wages. On average, job openings with no educational requirements or a high school diploma paid in the $13 per hour range. Meanwhile, wages averaged $22.50 for vacancies with postsecondary or other certifications, and $31.38 for bachelor and advanced degree job openings. Job vacancies with higher education requirements were also more likely to be full-time positions, and require previous work experience.

Two out of five vacancies in Oregon occurred in the two-county Portland Metro area. Job openings in Portland and the 10-county East Cascades region reported the highest average hourly wages. Areas with the greatest difficulty filling vacancies included Eastern Oregon (74%), Southwestern Oregon (72%), and the Rogue Valley (71%). 

More job vacancy data can be found on the Publications page at, or you can contact me with questions!

Oregon Employment Forecast: Down Shifting from Full Throttle

Oregon’s economic expansion endures, albeit it at more subdued pace. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as the red hot job growth of recent years was unsustainable over the long run. Monthly growth decelerated from an average of about 5,000 jobs in 2015 to 3,000 in the final quarters of 2016 as Oregon’s economy approached full employment and felt the effects of a strong U.S. dollar and weak global economy, weighing down our export-dependent manufacturing sector.

The outlook calls for continued expansion with above average gains compared with the rest of the nation, but at a more moderate pace than in recent years according to the latest Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis (OEA). They anticipate growth to slow from the full-throttle rates of 3 percent to 3.5 percent to about 2.5 percent this year, or roughly 3,500 jobs per month. OEA points out that these gains are still strong enough to accommodate anticipated population growth and hold down the jobless rate.

Growth will be dominated by service-sector industries such as the large and diverse professional and business services (e.g., company headquarters, temp help, computer systems design); leisure and hospitality (e.g., restaurants, golf courses); and private health care. These three sectors will account for nearly two-thirds of net new jobs.

Goods-producing industries, whose growth outpaced the overall economy since 2013, are expected to play a smaller role going forward. Notably manufacturing, which downshifted into neutral last year following six years of gains totaling 27,000 jobs. OEA points to a weak global economy, the strong dollar, and the cyclical nature of manufacturing as reasons behind the flat forecast. Construction will also slow, but still add thousands of jobs as the housing rebound continues, driven by new household formation and in-migration. OEA estimates that new home construction lags demand by about a year. Overall, 2017 will end up 2.4 percent over 2016 (43,400 jobs) with a similar pace forecasted for 2018. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Per Capita Personal Income in Oregon’s Counties

In 2015, Oregon had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $43,783. The PCPI ranked 29th in the United States and was 91 percent of the national average, $48,112, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In Oregon, the 2015 PCPI increased by 5.0 percent from 2014, faster than the nationwide PCPI growth rate of 3.7 percent. In 2005, Oregon’s PCPI was $32,421 and ranked 32nd in the United States.

Personal income is the sum of three main components: net earnings (wages, salaries, employer contributions); personal current transfer receipts (retirement, Medicare, unemployment insurance); and dividends, interest, and rent. PCPI is calculated by dividing the area's personal income by its total population.

Per capita personal income varies between states and counties, and by metro and non-metro areas. A look at county numbers shows high variability in PCPI. In general, PCPI is higher in the Portland area and along the Columbia Gorge. Sherman County, a non-metro, actually had the highest PCPI in 2015 at $57,526.

In general, counties with higher PCPI have a higher percentage of PCPI attributable to net earnings. Per capita net earnings made up 69.4 percent of PCPI in Morrow County and 68.5 percent in Washington County. In Baker County, per capita net earnings made up 43.1 percent of PCPI, and in Curry County just 41.6 percent.

Areas with a higher concentration of older residents can show lower PCPI. In Oregon, Malheur County ($30,255) and Jefferson County ($32,178) had the lowest PCPI. The reason is that as people leave the labor force, they have likely passed their peak earning years, and therefore have less contribution to the net earnings component of personal income. Remember PCPI represents income, rather than wealth. Older residents may have substantial wealth, but not have as much relative income, unless it was income-generating investments that would show up in the “dividends, interest, and rent” portion of PCPI.
Learn more about per capita personal income in Oregon counties, metro and non-metro areas in "Per Capita Personal Income in Oregon" by Economist Felicia Bechtoldt.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Consumer Price Index for Shelter Rising in the Portland-Salem MSA

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Urban Consumers in the Portland-Salem area grew 2.6 percent from the second half of 2015 to the second half of 2016, much faster than the U.S. prices increase of 1.5 percent.

Recent focus on housing cost increases in the Portland area is reflected in the Consumer Price Index’s shelter measure. The cost of shelter increased more (6.8%) in the Portland-Salem area than the U.S. city average (3.5%). Shelter is about one-third of the CPI - All Items index and has a large influence on overall consumer prices, so rising housing prices helped push Portland's CPI above the U.S.

Shelter includes rent of primary residence, lodging away from home, and owner’s equivalent rent of primary residence. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, rental equivalence measures the change in the implicit rent, which is the amount a homeowner would pay to rent or would earn from renting.

In contrast, the Portland-Salem area had little change in prices for food. In fact, food prices fell 0.3 percent over-the-year from the second half of 2015 to the second half of 2016. The U.S. city average price for food also showed a moderate decline of 0.2 percent from the second half of 2015 to the second half of 2016.

While still showing an over the year decline, the price of gasoline increased drastically during the second half of 2016. The U.S. saw a 7.1 percent increase in the price of gasoline from the first to the second half of the year, while the price of gasoline increased 10.5 percent in the Portland-Salem area.

Blog article written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

December Unemployment Rate Highest in Grant County

Grant County had Oregon’s highest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December at 7.2 percent. Benton County (3.7%) registered the lowest rate for the month. Twelve of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 4.6 percent and below the national rate of 4.7 percent. Josephine County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 1.8 percentage points, more than any other county. Klamath, Lake and Linn counties each saw their unemployment rates improve by 1.6 percentage points, and Coos and Jackson counties improved their unemployment rates by 1.5 and 1.4 percentage points, respectively.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all of Oregon’s six broad regions between December 2015 and December 2016. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+3.9%). Southern Oregon (+3.0%), the Willamette Valley (+2.4%), Portland (+1.7%), Eastern Oregon (+1.2%) and the Oregon Coast (+0.7%) also saw growth.
See the full labor force and unemployment by area press release in 36 counties and metropolitan areas in Oregon.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Training and Working Conditions for Oregon’s Tribal Casino Workers

Currently, Oregon is home to nine tribal casinos located across the state. These casinos, operated by individual Native American tribal councils, provide a variety of employment opportunities in the gaming industry.

Training, Qualifications, and Advancement

For most gaming occupations, skills are learned mainly through on-the-job training. The gaming occupations that may require more than on-the-job training are gaming managers and gaming dealers. Most gaming managers are required to have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in management or a related field.

Gaming dealers are a special group. Some may learn the necessary skills on the job, but most often they need to attend classes to learn the skills required to deal or run different games. Another difference with gaming dealers is that they usually must audition in order to get hired. Auditions show how well applicants know the game and how quickly and efficiently they are able to compute and pay winning bets, but also how personable they are and how well they interact with customers.

One qualification that is important in all gaming occupations is excellent customer service skills. Casinos want friendly, personable employees who interact well with customers and make the gambling experience pleasurable whether customers are winning or losing. Another important skill for casino workers is the ability to deal with difficult and unhappy customers pleasantly, as the cards, dice, balls, or slots can’t go everyone’s way. 

Working Conditions

Working conditions for casino workers can be difficult. Casinos operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year, so workers may have to work swing or graveyard shifts, weekends, and holidays. Most positions require standing for long periods of time and some entail quite a bit of walking. Some, especially supervisors and managers, must deal with the occasional security problems presented by patrons. The amount of money being exchanged and handled in a casino also presents security risks. 


The wage numbers presented are drawn from information on all employment for these gaming occupations statewide and are not restricted solely to employment in tribal casinos. Most of the jobs in these occupations are at tribal casinos though.

Learn about major gaming occupations and their employment in "Gaming Occupations at Oregon’s Tribal Casinos", written by Workforce Analyst Tony Wendel. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Dropped to 4.6 Percent in December

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent in December, from 5.0 percent in November. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December, down from 5.3 percent in December 2015. Oregon’s unemployment rate and its decline over the year are comparable with the U.S.

In December, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 5,000, which was more than the average monthly gain of 4,400 experienced over the prior 12 months. This followed a strong November gain of 5,200 jobs, as revised. December gains were strongest in professional and business services (+1,200 jobs) and government (+1,100). Three other industries added close to 700 jobs: financial activities (+700); health care and social assistance (+700); and construction (+600). Only one major industry had a substantial monthly job loss, as transportation, warehousing and utilities cut 500 jobs.

Over-the-year growth in Oregon continued at a robust pace as payroll employment grew by 2.9 percent since December 2015, nearly double the U.S. growth rate of 1.5 percent. In Oregon, industries growing the fastest during 2016 were construction (+7,000 jobs, or 8.1%); other services (+3,000 jobs, or 4.8%); professional and business services (+10,600 jobs, or 4.5%); and health care and social assistance (+10,200 jobs, or 4.5%). No industry declined over the past 12 months, but manufacturing (+1,200 jobs, or 0.6%) and retail trade (+1,200 jobs, or 0.6%) each expanded by less than 1 percent.

Read the Oregon Employment Department's full press release.