Monday, August 24, 2015

How Many Jobs in Your County Pay Less Than $13 per Hour?

We regularly receive questions about how many jobs pay less than a certain hourly wage. This question often comes up in relation to the minimum wage or a self-sufficiency wage. Having data by county is particularly useful when looking at how many local jobs might be impacted by changes in the minimum wage (see for example Minimum-Wage Jobs a Smaller Share of Total in Metro Areas) or how many local jobs are at the self-sufficiency level for given type of household.

There were about 577,000 jobs that paid less than $13 per hour in the first quarter 2014. That was about 32 percent of all jobs. We picked $13 per hour for this blog post because we were asked about it recently, but we can look at other wage levels too. This interactive graph lets you see the share and number of jobs in $1 increments from the minimum wage or less ($9.10 per hour in first quarter 2014) to $20 per hour or more. Select any county to explore local wage distributions by the share of all jobs and by the number of jobs.

Note: A few mobile users operating with Apple iOS have experience issues with this chart. Please let us know if you are having issues and we'll be happy to get you any data or charts needed! Email at

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Computer Occupations in Oregon - More than Just Programmers

The Oregon Employment Department projects job openings for 721 occupations across the state. Of these 721, 13 are computer occupations. Between 2012 and 2022, there are expected to be almost 15,000 openings in computer occupations. Take a look here:

Notice the third occupation on the list, Computer Occupations, All Other. This is a sort of catch-all for occupations that don't fit into the other occupations on the list. Because these numbers come from survey data, it's not possible to break occupations down as specifically as we might like.

Using another source, Help Wanted Online Ads, we can break the Computer Occupations, All Other category into more specific occupations. In total, there were 1579 online ads placed or available for Computer Occupations, All Other between the second half of July and first half of August 2015. Here's what those ads look like in more detail:

More online ads were place for Computer Occupations, All Other than for any of the occupations on the first chart. Coming in second was Software Developers, Applications followed by Computer User Support Specialists.

Search open job listings for jobs that fall into this occupational category here: Computer Occupations, All Other.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Oregon Adds 4,600 Jobs in July and the Unemployment Rate Increases to 5.9 Percent

Payroll employment in Oregon rose at a brisk pace in July, adding 4,600 jobs. Five major industries added 1,000 jobs or more over the month, with construction (+2,300 jobs) and professional and business services (+1,700) adding the most.

Oregon’s unemployment rate rose to 5.9 percent in July from 5.5 percent in June. The rate, which is based primarily on data from the Current Population Survey, can be volatile at times. Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped dramatically in the early months of 2015 and has bumped back up a little in more recent months.

Despite the increase, Oregon’s unemployment rate was significantly below its year-ago figure of 7.0 percent in July 2014. Oregon’s rate remained close to the U.S. rate of 5.3 percent in July.

“Oregon’s job growth continued at a rapid pace in July,” said Nick Beleiciks, Oregon’s state employment economist. “We’re also seeing a large number of people entering the labor market or who are leaving their jobs voluntarily. They account for about half the increase in unemployment. Oregon’s economy is adding jobs so fast right now that many of them will find work quickly.”

Read the full press release and watch State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks discuss this month’s employment situation: Oregon Employment Department Press Release.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Oregon’s Minimum Wage and the Federal Poverty Threshold

by Nick Beleiciks,

Recently, we were asked to illustrate how changes in Oregon’s minimum wage over time related to poverty. That is a complex comparison because the minimum wage applies to jobs, while the federal poverty level threshold varies by how many people are in a family. Add in the amount of time spent working during the year and there are three points that need to be considered: the wage; the number of weeks on the job; and the number of family members.

One approach, shown here, is to graph the number of weeks it would take to reach the federal poverty threshold while working one full-time job at the minimum wage.

An individual working 40 hours per week at Oregon’s minimum wage needs to work 34 weeks during the year in order earn enough to reach the poverty threshold. If the individual worked more than 34 weeks, their income would be above the federal poverty threshold.

The poverty threshold is higher for families, so someone supporting a family of three would need to work 52 weeks during the year in order to earn enough to reach the poverty threshold. These are just examples; other family sizes require a different number of weeks to reach the poverty threshold.

Oregon’s minimum wage and the federal poverty threshold are adjusted annually for inflation using the same index of consumer prices, so the number of weeks worked at minimum wage required to meet the poverty threshold has been fairly stable since 2003.

Prior to annual adjustments to Oregon’s minimum wage, the number of weeks reached a high of 46 weeks for an individual and 70 weeks per year for a family of three in 1988. Looking forward, the number of work weeks should remain stable unless there is an additional change in Oregon’s minimum wage, beyond the annual adjustment for inflation.

The federal minimum wage is lower than Oregon’s minimum wage, so workers in other states earning the federal minimum wage need to work longer before they reach the poverty threshold. An individual needs to work full time for 42 weeks at the federal minimum wage to reach the poverty threshold. In this straightforward example, someone supporting a family of three would have to work 65 weeks during the year at the federal minimum wage to reach the poverty threshold. Of course, it is impossible to work 65 weeks in one year, which means a family of three with one wage earner at the federal minimum wage will be in poverty without another source of income.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Why Oregon's State Government Employment is Increasing

Employment in state government rose sharply over the past two years, adding 5,900 jobs between March 2013 and March 2015. What's behind that increase?

Roughly two out of three (3,900) of those added jobs were home care workers paid by the Oregon Department of Human Services to care for the elderly and disabled. The recent opening of a new hospital in Junction City contributed roughly 400 in job gains, and state education (universities) added more than 200 jobs over the two-year period. Much of the remaining job growth occurred at the Department of Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority.

For additional information, contact State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.

Friday, August 7, 2015

U.S. Employment Sees Solid Increase in July

Total nonfarm payroll employment in the United States increased by 215,000 jobs in July 2015. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.3 percent.

In July, job gains occurred in retail trade, health care, professional and technical services, and financial activities.

We’ll find out if Oregon's employment figures follow the nation's in the Oregon Employment Department's August 18, 10:00 a.m. press release. Visit our press release page for information.

Read the BLS' full release here: The Employment Situation - July 2015

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Online Ads for Teacher Assistants Highest Ever

There is a huge need for teacher assistants heading into the 2015-2016 school year. More than 500 ads in July 2015 called for help from workers to fill the need for teacher assistants. According to the BLS, teacher assistants:
  • Reinforce lessons presented by teachers by reviewing material with students one-on-one or in small groups
  • Enforce school and class rules to help teach students proper behavior
  • Help teachers with record keeping, such as tracking attendance and calculating grades
  • Help teachers prepare for lessons by getting materials ready or setting up equipment, such as computers
  • Help supervise students in class, between classes, during lunch and recess, and on field trips
The Salem-Keizer School District put up the most ads in July with 73, but ads were dispersed across the state. Eugene School District (28), North Clackamas (21), Gresham-Barlow (17), and Springfield (17) all put up a large number of ads.

Online ads are counted by Wanted Analytics and The Conference Board, which gather ads from multiple job boards across the internet, then remove duplicates and clean up the data.

The median income for a teacher assistant in Oregon is $29,111. In 2012, there were more than 17,000 teacher assistants in Oregon, and that number is expected to reach almost 20,000 by the year 2022.

For more information on teacher assistants and a look at current job listings, visit our Teacher Assistant Occupational Profile.

For more information on online ads, read our latest Help Wanted Online Ads report.

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!