Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Where are Oregon's Young Workers Employed?

In our 2014 report, Endangered: Youth in the Labor Force, we discuss the disproportionately high unemployment rate for young people ages 16-24, as well as the dramatically declining labor force participation rate for these workers.

While unemployment rates for young workers remain high, there were 195,000 workers between the ages of 14 and 24 in the third quarter of 2014. This is a sizable number, but is still down more than 30,000 from the third quarter of 2004.

These young workers were most likely to be employed in restaurants. In fact, about 40,000 of them either worked at limited- or full-service restaurants. Grocery stores, employment services, and recreation industries also employed a relatively large share of young workers.

Where these young people were employed also depends on location, detailed age group, and gender. In most counties, the top industries for young workers tend to be limited- and full-service restaurants, grocery stores, and employment services (which includes temp help).

Explore the tool below to find out where young workers in your area are most likely to be employed.
For questions on how to use this tool, contact Will Burchard at

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jobs Recovery Unevenly Spread Across Oregon

Yesterday we posted about the recovery of Oregon's jobs to pre-recession levels across higher-, lower-, and mid-wage industries alike in the fourth quarter of 2014. We also mentioned that Oregon's total nonfarm employment also returned to (and exceeded) pre-recession levels in the fourth quarter.

Today we're taking a different angle on the jobs recovery. This one shows the uneven distribution of those recovered jobs across the state. Although Oregon's economy continues to expand, that hasn't translated into the return of jobs everywhere. As of June, payroll employment sat below the pre-recession peak in 22 of Oregon's 36 counties.

Counties in many of Oregon's metropolitan areas are leading the charge in employment growth. Multnomah and Washington counties combined for a net gain of 43,000 jobs relative to their pre-recession maximum. The Salem metro area shows a net increase of 2,900 jobs (1.9%) and Corvallis is up 2,500 (6.3%) jobs. Bend's net growth now totals 2,000 jobs (2.8%). Not all metro areas are back to the "break-even" point though: Medford (-2.7%), Eugene (-3.7%), Albany (-4.5%), and Grants Pass (-4.9%) still fall short.

Although they're among the counties with a pre-recession employment recovery, each of these non-metro counties show a net gain of less than 200 jobs: Clatsop, Sherman, Wallowa, Tillamook, and Hood River County.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Oregon Recovers Jobs High, Low, and in Between!

Here's a quick graphic of Oregon's continuing jobs expansion.

Early in the recovery from the Great Recession, job gains mainly occurred in lower-wage industries (e.g., food services and drinking places and clothing stores) and higher-wage industries such as hospitals and ambulatory health care services. The mid-wage industries -- which include many types of manufacturing, among other things -- lagged behind in terms of adding back jobs.

As of the fourth quarter of 2014, lower-, mid-, and higher-wage industries all regained the jobs lost during the recession. Oregon's total nonfarm employment also returned to its pre-recession peak in the fourth quarter.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

June 2015 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

Hood River County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June at 4.3 percent. Curry County (8.3%) registered the highest rate for the month. Ten of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 5.5 percent and eight were at or below the national rate of 5.3 percent. Harney County saw the largest improvement in its unemployment rate over the year with a drop of 3.0 percentage points.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all of Oregon’s six broad regions between June 2014 and June 2015. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (3.6%). The Willamette Valley (+2.7%), Southern Oregon (+2.6%), Portland (+2.1%), Eastern Oregon (1.5%), and the Oregon Coast (0.6%) also saw growth.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Oregon's Unemployment Rate Rises as Job Growth Continues

This morning the Oregon Employment Department released its monthly summary of the state's employment situation. Oregon's unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.5 percent in June. Employers added 2,300 jobs to payrolls last month.

The slight uptick in the unemployment rate was not a surprise. In recent years, the state has seen small increases in the unemployment rate during the summer months, as movers to Oregon, recent graduates, and students on summer break look for jobs. The influx of unemployed persons into the state's labor market was larger than expected in each of the last four summers, which led to temporary increases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate.

Oregon's 5.5 percent unemployment rate in June was significantly lower than 7.0 percent in June 2014.

After a flat month with no job gains or losses (as revised) in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated Oregon's employment growth at 2,300 jobs in June. Retail trade bounced back from its loss of 1,400 jobs in May with a gain of 3,100 jobs in June. Local government added 1,800 jobs in June.

Between June 2014 and June 2015 payroll employment grew by 52,100 jobs, or 3.0 percent. That's much faster than the national rate of 2.1 percent. Oregon's over-the-year job growth has consistently outpaced the nation's since 2013. 

State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks commented that "June’s low unemployment rate and continued job growth are signs that Oregon’s labor market is in great shape right now."

More information on Oregon's June labor force, unemployment rate, and job growth can be found in the full news release, or by watching today's video!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Employers Report More Than 50,000 Job Vacancies in the Spring

Oregon businesses reported 53,300 job vacancies in spring 2015. That's the largest number of vacancies ever captured by the Oregon Job Vacancy Survey, and an increase of 6,400 vacancies from the prior year. The growing number of vacancies reflects continued strength in Oregon's labor market.

The ratio of unemployed Oregonians to vacancies dropped to 2-to-1 in the spring. This ratio is consistent with a strong economy: Oregon last saw an unemployed-to-vacancy ratio this low in spring 2008.

Amid solid economic growth and with many available job openings, employers are having a harder time finding the workers they need. Statewide, businesses reported 61 percent of job vacancies as difficult to fill in the spring. That's the highest percentage in the two and a half years of the quarterly Job Vacancy Survey.

Central Oregon businesses reported 6,300 vacancies this spring. That's 2,600 more compared with spring 2014. The area's total was boosted by vacancies for wildland firefighters and leisure and hospitality workers. Central Oregon also reported the highest share of difficult-to-fill vacancies, at 71 percent.

Job vacancies for nine sub-state areas are available by clicking on the columns in the graph below.

For more information about the Oregon Job Vacancy Survey, contact Senior Analyst Gail Krumenauer.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Job-to-Job Flows: New Statistics of Workforce Dynamics for Oregon

There has been a marked decline in the rate of job change in the U.S. since 2000, according to job-to-job flow statistics on worker reallocation from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

The decrease in job changing during the Great Recession was especially steep and job change rates, although rising again, remained low through summer 2013. This is troubling because job changes are associated with wage growth as workers generally flow to higher-paying jobs. Increasing job change rates should eventually lead to wage growth, according to economists studying these trends.

Recently released state-level job-to-job flow figures reveal the same trend in Oregon:


Hiring Rate from Persistent Nonemployment – These are job hires where the worker moves from persistent nonemployment to employment. Persistent here means the worker was likely without a job for at least three months prior to starting the job.

Separation Rate to Persistent Nonemployment – These are job separations where the worker moves from employment to persistent nonemployment. Persistent here means the worker was likely without a job for at least three months after leaving the job.

Job-Changing Rate, Hires – These are job-to-job hires that result from job-to-job moves with short-to-no nonemployment between jobs. The rate is calculated by dividing the number of job-to-job hires by the total number of jobs.

Job-Changing Rate, Separations – These are job-to-job separations that result from job-to-job moves with short-to-no nonemployment between jobs. The separation may be voluntary or involuntary, such as from a layoff, but there's no way to determine this from the data. Research from the Census Bureau finds these types of separations are predominately voluntary because they are associated with higher earnings and increased job tenure at the destination job.

Read more about Job-to-Job Flows in Nick Beleiciks' article: Job-to-Job Flows: New Statistics of Workforce Dynamics for Oregon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Oregon's Average Wage on the Rise in 2015

(Note to email recipients - click on the title to follow graph link)

Real average hourly wages of private-sector jobs in Oregon are on the rise this year, thanks to nominal wage increases and essentially no inflation (due to low oil and gas prices). The graph uses a 12-month moving average to help smooth this otherwise volatile series.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

U.S. Payrolls Add 223,000 Jobs in June

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its summary of June's employment situation. The unemployment rate dropped slightly to 5.3 percent, and payroll employment grew by 223,000 jobs.

June's job growth was on pace with the average for the last three months (221,000), but slightly below the average monthly gain of 250,000 for the prior 12 months. Professional and business services saw the largest monthly gain in June, 64,000 jobs, with nearly one-third of that due to an increase in temporary help services. Health care added 40,000 jobs in June.

The BLS noted unemployment rates of 4.8 percent each for adult men and adult women. By comparison, the unemployment rate for teens was 18.1 percent last month. That's down from 20.7 percent in June 2014, but teens still face significantly higher unemployment rates than adults. In June, the unemployment sat below 4.0 percent for those ages 35 to 44, 45 to 54, and 55 and older nationwide.

Note: all figures in this post are seasonally adjusted, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics is the source for all data.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fourth of July Brings Fountain of Jobs to Oregon

by Nick Beleiciks, State Employment Economist

Oregonians across the state will be celebrating the 239th anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence with barbeques featuring Oregon-grown fare, pies made from Oregon cherries, and fireworks as permitted under Oregon Revised Statutes 480.110 through 480.165. They will also enjoy displays created by Oregon’s professional pyrotechnic companies.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that $247.1 million worth of fireworks were imported from China in 2014. According to the 2012 Economic Census, sales of fireworks by wholesalers totaled $508.1 million, while sales of fireworks by retailers totaled $369.4 million. This volume of sales generates jobs, although the exact number is as obscure as a neighborhood street filled with lit smoke balls.

Trying to count Oregon’s fireworks-related jobs can make you feel like a lit-up Catherine wheel spinning on a post. There’s no single industry that captures everything related to fireworks. We decided to compile employment and wage data for the six firms with a variation of “fireworks” in their name and the firms we knew sold fireworks but did not mention it in their name.

Oregon’s fireworks firms are involved in one of these two activities:
  • Toy and hobby goods and supplies merchant wholesalers – businesses that take possession of the fireworks before selling them to retailers. 
  • All other amusement and recreation industries – business that put on firework displays.
Employment at just the six fireworks firms blooms like a ground flower around the Fourth of July, reaching 182 jobs in July 2014. Their combined average employment was 88 jobs in the third quarter of 2014, with a total pay of nearly $627,000. That works out to an average quarterly wage of over $7,100 per job, equivalent to over $28,000 per year, if they worked all year round.

We know this is a significant undercount of all fireworks-related jobs because there are currently more than 700 retail fireworks sales locations permitted by the State Fire Marshal. One-half of these permits are for indoors locations like grocery stores, where it’s impossible to separate fireworks-related employment. The other half are for outside locations in temporary tents or stands, typically as fundraisers. 
So think about all the workers behind the black snakes and sparklers you’re enjoying this year. And please remember to be safe. Oregon’s 3,715 fire fighters could use a relaxing Independence Day.

Your four-legged friends could use some moral support too as they struggle through the booms and bangs of the holiday. Remember that many pets are afraid of the fireworks, and you may need to take precautions to keep them safe and calm. While Oregon is home to 1,070 veterinarians, you can bet that not all of them will be working this weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Labor Force Participation and Unemployment by Race and Ethnicity in 2014

by Nick Beleiciks, State Employment Economist

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in 2014, but the unemployment rate varies across race and ethnicity groups. The unemployment rate was 4.4 percent among Asians, 6.8 percent among Whites, and 13.6 percent among Blacks and African Americans. The unemployment rate among Hispanics and Latinos of any race was 9.6 percent.

Oregon’s labor force participation rate was 61.4 percent. Participation rates also vary across race and ethnicity group. Participation rates were 64.1 percent among Asians, 62.8 percent among Blacks, and 61.2 percent among Whites. The participation rate among Hispanics and Latinos was 67.8 percent.