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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Oregon's Unemployment Rate Rises to 5.2 Percent in July, Job Growth Continues

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in July, an increase from June’s 4.8 percent. It’s risen from a record low of 4.5 percent in the three months of March, April and May. Oregon’s labor force, which reached a record high of 2,058,000 in July, has grown rapidly in recent months as the number of people employed grew along with growth in the number of unemployed.


Oregon’s payroll employment added 3,800 jobs in July. Gains were largest in health care and social assistance (+2,100 jobs); professional and business services (+1,600); leisure and hospitality (+1,200); transportation, warehousing and utilities (+1,100); and other services (+1,000). Meanwhile, the industries with the biggest declines in July were manufacturing (-1,200 jobs) and construction (-1,100).

Watch Nick Beleiciks discuss Oregon's employment situation:

 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Finding a Candidate Who's the "Right Fit" for the Job

Since 2013, the Oregon Employment Department has conducted the quarterly Oregon Job Vacancy Survey. We ask employers in all industries and all areas of the state about the jobs for which they are actively recruiting, including whether or not they experience difficulty filling vacancies.

Each year, Oregon businesses have reported increasing difficulty filling job vacancies. The share of all vacancies reported as difficult to fill rose from 48 percent in 2013 to 51 percent in 2014. By 2015, employers reported challenges filling 28,300 (or 59%) of the state’s 48,100 job vacancies.

Many of the primary reasons businesses report related to hiring difficulty fall into distinct categories, most commonly a lack of applicants or lack of qualified candidates. A portion of difficult-to-fill job vacancies are not so easily classified though. In 2015, almost 1,900 vacancies fell into the “other” category. This included an assortment of unique or unclear descriptions of challenges filling openings: some businesses were “not sure” why their vacancies are difficult to fill; some admitted “We are picky!” in selecting candidates; others cited the “industry” as the challenge.

Among these “other” reasons for difficulty filling vacancies, one has been on the rise over the past few years. A small but increasing share of responses identified difficulty finding a candidate who’s the “right fit” for the job or the company’s culture. While this response would only account for 1 percent of all difficult-to-fill job vacancies in 2015, they tend to be concentrated in some specific types of occupations: management; business and financial; computer and mathematical occupations; sales and related occupations; and office and administrative support.

For example, the company seeking its next CEO may well be looking for a person who will either embrace and further the business’s established culture, or specifically lead the organization in a new direction. In another case, the church looking to fill an associate clergy position could certainly be looking for a specific combination of skills and beliefs in alignment with the job. It’s difficult to discern from limited survey responses what employers really mean when they comment that jobs are difficult to fill for “fit” or “culture” reasons. At least in some cases though, these responses provide insights into occupations where a specific – if difficult to categorize – set of qualities may be desirable for employers.

To learn more about occupations where the "right fit" matters, read Senior Economic Analyst Gail Krumenauer's full article "Difficulty Finding a Candidate Who’s the “Right Fit” for the Job".

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Declining Labor Force Participation is not Unique to Oregon

Oregon’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population that is either employed or unemployed – peaked in 1998 at 69.0 percent and has since generally declined. The labor force participation rate (LFPR) fell to 61.0 percent in 2013, the lowest annual percentage since comparable records began in 1976. Oregon’s LFPR remained very close to the 2013 series low in both 2014 and 2015 at 61.1 percent.

The trend in Oregon’s LFPR resembles the overall trend for the United States, which peaked in the late 1990s and has since fallen to historically low levels.

One of the main reasons for falling participation since the late nineties is changing age demographics. People 16 to 24 years of age are delaying entry into the labor force to a greater extent than in the past due to increased participation in school-related activities, lowering labor force participation rates for this age group and by extension the overall LFPR.

People aged 65 years and over – an age group most likely to be out of the labor force due to retirement – make up a larger share of the civilian noninstitutional population today than they did in the late nineties, as the oldest members of the baby boom generation began to reach this age category in 2012. LFPRs for people age 65 years and over are much lower than those for the prime working age group – people age 25 to 54 years. Therefore, as the baby boom generation continues to age into the 65 years and over population group, overall LFPRs will experience downward pressure as a larger share of the population reach an age group with an LFPR that is historically lower than those for other age categories.


To learn why the labor force participation varies by county, read Local Area Unemployment Statistics Coordinator Tracy Morrissette's full article "Oregon Labor Force Participation Rates by County, 2015".

Monday, August 8, 2016

Summer Hiring in Oregon

Summer is a busy time of year for job seekers and employers. Waves of fresh graduates, students on summer break, and new workers moving to the state flood the labor market like the cool waters of the Pacific cover Oregon’s beaches at high tide. Employers scoop up many of these workers, hiring more new workers during the warm months of July, August, and September than any other time of the year. Some new hires remain at their jobs like water in a tide pool, while others working seasonal jobs flow back to school or to other jobs as the wave of new hires subsides.

During an average year, more than 1 million people land a job with an Oregon employer they haven’t worked for recently. The exact number varies from year to year as more people are hired when the economy is stronger and fewer people are hired when the economy is weaker (although hundreds of thousands of people still find jobs, even during recessions). The number of new hires has also changed over time as the structure of the economy has changed.

The seasonal patterns of hiring are very predictable. Hiring is slowest during the winter, increases significantly in the spring, reaches a peak during the summer, and starts slowing again in the fall. Roughly 31 percent of people hired each year are hired during the summer months. In summer 2015, there were nearly 334,000 new hires.


Slightly less than one-third (31%) of summer new hires in 2015 were workers under the age of 25 years. Since just one-eighth (12%) of jobs at the beginning of summer were held by young workers, it looks like summer jobs go disproportionately to younger workers. There is some truth to that because while the share of jobs held by young workers doesn’t change much during the year, the share of young new hires is largest during the summer and smallest in the winter (25% in winter 2015).

New hires are more likely to be young people because they tend to be less settled in their careers, have higher turnover, and are more likely to be unemployed. A lot of older workers are hired each summer too. Out of the 334,000 new hires in summer 2015, 104,000 were under age 25 years, 188,000 were age 25 to 54, and the remaining 42,000 were age 55 and over.

To learn about the industries that do most of the summer hiring, read State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks' article "Summer Hiring". 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Average Earnings for Young Workers Peaked 15 Years Ago

The average real monthly earnings of Oregon workers increased in the 1990s, was essentially flat from 2000 to 2014, and has been on the rise since. Recently, average earnings have been on the rise for all age groups, but different age groups have shown very different trends since 2000. Average monthly earnings have increased for all age groups over 35 years, but average earnings are now lower than they were in 2000 for workers younger than 35 years.

Although average earnings for young people peaked 15 years ago, it does not mean their average earnings won't recover and reach a new peak. The recent increase in average earnings is encouraging, because it reflects the strong labor market conditions of the last few years (people are working more hours and employers are paying higher wages in order to keep or attract enough workers), and the relatively low rate of inflation (average wages are rising faster than the rate of inflation, which leads to a real increase).

Falling earnings for younger workers is part of the youth workforce challenge facing Oregon and the nation. Fewer young people today are participating in the labor force than in previous generations, partly because they are focusing more on educational attainment, and partly because they faced increased competition from older workers. For more information about youth in the workforce, see Endangered: Youth in the Labor Force.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Oregon’s Per Capita Personal Income 2015: Low Because We Like it Here?

Oregon’s total personal income was just over $173 billion in 2015, while Texas’ was more than $1.28 trillion. Per capita personal income (PCPI), however, was $42,974 for Oregon and $46,745 for Texas.

Net earnings per capita increased by $1,134 over the year in Oregon, while per capita dividends, interest, and rent increased by $192, and per capita transfer receipts increased by $428. All three components remained relatively stable as a share of PCPI for the state with only a 0.1 percentage point to 0.3 percentage point change.

Oregon’s PCPI has remained close to the U.S. level since estimates began in 1929. The largest difference between the Beaver state and the U.S. came in 1943 when Oregon climbed to its peak of 123.8 percent of the national level. Oregon’s PCPI was consistently above the U.S. from 1938 to 1956 when incomes were bolstered by defense manufacturing for World War II and the post-war economic boom. In 1943, war-related manufacturing propelled Oregon's PCPI to its highest level relative to the nation.

In 2007, Oregon’s PCPI dropped below 90.0 percent of the national level for the first time. And the state’s PCPI reached its lowest relative point (88.3%) in 2012. This was largely influenced by two main factors; the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009; and Oregon’s fast population growth. The Great Recession brought job loss and lower earnings while at the same time Oregon’s population grew by 6.2 percent between 2006 and 2012.

Over the past three years, Oregon experienced a slow upward trend in PCPI relative to the U.S. level. Population growth works to drive PCPI downward, while income growth works to drive PCPI upward. Oregon’s 2015 population growth rate was eighth in the nation. The 2015 total personal income growth rate was second in the nation. 



Continued economic expansion that includes fast job growth, potentially high wages, technology-based industries, and increasing opportunity, along with an attractive Oregon lifestyle is, well …very attractive. This encourages immigration while discouraging emigration. The grass is green in Oregon. And that’s one reason why Oregon’s PCPI was 90.2 percent of the U.S. PCPI in 2015.

To learn more about how Oregon's per capita personal income compares with other states, read Chris Rich's full article: "Oregon’s Per Capita Personal Income 2015: Low Because We Like it Here?".

Occupational Wage Differential Calculator, 2016

Wage differentials are a quick and easy way to spot relatively high paying occupations in a region. This sort of information is useful for students planning their careers, experienced professionals moving to a new location, workforce planners trying to identify potential worker shortages, or anyone curious about how the pay in their occupation stacks up against their neighbors.

The occupational wage differential is calculated by dividing an occupation’s average wage in a geographic area by the average wage for all occupations in that area.



The 2.1 wage differential for registered nurses in Multnomah and Washington means nurses earn 110 percent more per hour than the average worker in those counties. Nurses in Jackson and Josephine counties make 150 percent more than the average worker. 

Wage differentials can tell us something about the potential standard of living. A worker in an occupation with a high wage differential can probably afford a higher standard of living than a worker in an occupation with a low wage differential, other things being equal. 

But, other factors that can affect wage differentials include prominent industries in an area, unionization in an area, and the types of occupations in an area.

Here's a look at wage differentials around Oregon:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

June 2016 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

Hood River County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June at 3.9 percent. Grant County (7.6%) registered the highest rate for the month. Ten of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 4.8 percent and 11 were at or below the national rate of 4.9 percent. Sherman County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 2.0 percentage points, more than any other county.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all of Oregon’s six broad regions between June 2015 and June 2016. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+4.0%). The Willamette Valley (+2.8%), Southern Oregon (+2.5%), Portland (+2.1%), the Oregon Coast (+1.8%), and Eastern Oregon (+1.6%) also saw growth.


For more information, read the full press release

Employment Among Oregonians with Disabilities

On July 26, the United States celebrates the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, education, transportation, state and local government services, public accommodations, telecommunications and commercial facilities.

In 2014, there were about 600,000 Oregonians with disabilities according to American Community Survey. Older people are more likely to have a disability. In Oregon, 38 percent of individuals over 65 have a disability. About 13 percent of individuals between 18 to 64 years reported to have a disability and about 7 percent of population ages 5 to 17 years have a disability. Men and women have about the same rates of reporting a disability.

In 2014, the unemployment rate for working-age people with disabilities was 16 percent compared with 7.8 percent for the state's overall population. Among population ages 18 to 64 years, about 115,000 people with disabilities were employed and 22,200 were unemployed. About 179,000 were not in the labor force. Earnings for people with disabilities are lower than for those with no disability. In 2014, men and women with disabilities had median earnings of $22,172 and $15,664, respectively, while men and women with no disability had earnings of $33,178 and $23,772, respectively.

Gateways to Employment

Several Oregon businesses offer specialized training and job coaching services to people with disabilities. Besides helping disabled workers find and keep jobs, these services can reduce company costs associated with new hires.

To find out more about the benefits of hiring workers with disabilities, visit:
For assistance in hiring people with disabilities, visit the Employer Services website of the Oregon Department of Human Services' Office of Vocational and Rehabilitation Services and Services for Employers website of the Oregon Commission for the Blind.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Rises in June, Job Growth Continues

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in June, an increase from May’s rate of 4.5 percent. One significant factor in the rise of the unemployment rate was a large increase in Oregon’s labor force, which reached an all-time high of 2,053,000. Despite the increase in June, Oregon’s unemployment rate remained significantly lower than the June 2015 rate of 5.8 percent.

Oregon’s 4.8 percent unemployment rate in June remained close to the national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent. Like Oregon, the U.S. rate also increased in June, rising from 4.7 percent in May.

Oregon’s payroll employment added 3,000 jobs in June after a revised gain of 2,500 in May.


Taking a longer-term view, payroll employment grew by 59,500 jobs since June 2015. The resulting over-the-year job growth rate was 3.3 percent in Oregon, much faster than the national job growth rate of 1.7 percent. Oregon’s over-the-year job growth has consistently outpaced the nation since 2013.

Read more: Oregon's Employment Situation.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Consumer Price Index for Shelter on the Rise in Portland-Salem MSA

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in the Portland-Salem area grew 1.7 percent between the first half of 2015 and the first half of 2016, faster than the U.S. increase of 1.1 percent.

Portland’s recent focus on price increases in the housing market is reflected in the
Consumer Price Index’s shelter measure. The cost of shelter increased more (6.7%) in the Portland-Salem area than the U.S. city average (3.3%). Shelter is about one-third of the CPI - All Items, which 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. The over-the-year growth rate fell from 0.7 percent in the second half of 2015 to -0.4 percent in the first half of 2016. The over-the-year growth rate for the U.S. city average had a relatively moderate decline from 1.4 percent in the second half of 2015 to 0.7 percent in the first half of 2016.

Gas and oil prices decreased drastically over the year. The U.S. saw a drop of 16 percent in gas and oil prices, while Portland-Salem area saw a drop of 17.4 percent.

Oregon, an Important Wine Grape Supplier

Oregon's wine production is not only driven by the local demand, Oregon’s alcohol exports reached an all-time high in 2015. As reported by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission in 2014, local wine represented 22 percent of total taxable consumption. Wine had a favorable growth rate in 2015; after a couple of years of modest demand, sales of wine grew by 3.6 percent.

Oregon wine grape growers are now important national suppliers. In 2014, Oregon ranked among the top five largest producers of grapes in the United States. According to Southern Oregon University, acreage increased to 27,390 from 23,955 in 2013. Oregon grapes are now recognized both nationally and internationally, winning several best in class awards at the recent L.A. International Wine Competition. Specifically, the pinot noir variety has been ranked among the best wines in the world.

There are five traditional growing regions in Oregon. North Willamette Valley is the largest in the state, followed by the Rogue Valley, Columbia River, South Willamette Valley, and Umpqua Valley.
To learn more about the wine industry in the Columbia Gorge, read Workforce Analyst Karla Castillo's article "The Columbia Gorge, a Blossoming Wine Region."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Distilling in Oregon: A Small, Yet Growing Component of the State’s Craft Beverage Industry

When talking about Oregon’s craft beverage industry the conversation typically turns to the myriad of breweries and wineries dispersed across the state. This is for good reason as Oregon is a leader in the craft brewing industry and home to world-class wines. However, distilled beverages are often overlooked. These businesses specializing in the production of spirits or liquor are not particularly large contributors to Oregon’s economy as they are dwarfed by their brewing and winery cousins. Nonetheless, distilled beverages are growing in popularity, which sparked rapid growth in the industry over the past five years.

According to the OLCC, there are over 80 distilling licenses in Oregon. However, a more realistic count of distillers who are actively producing and selling their spirits is closer to 25. In 2015, 22 distilleries employed 219 workers across the state. According to the OLCC, the tax revenue from the sale of distilled spirits was $1.06 billion for the 2013-2015 biennium, which represented a staggering 96 percent of the revenue OLCC collects.

Only about 12 percent of liquor sales in the state were from Oregon distillers. The vast majority of liquor and spirits consumed in Oregon is imported from outside the state. Around 1.1 million gallons of Oregon-made liquor were sold inside the state last year. By far the most purchased Oregon liquor was vodka (40%), followed by whiskey (24%) then rum (15%).

A top 10 list for sales of local distillers in Oregon is a bit deceiving, as the list is completely dominated by Hood River Distillers. The Hood River based distiller sold over 910,000 gallons of liquor in Oregon last year. They produce a variety of brands including HRD, Monarch, Pendleton, and Sinfire, to name a few. The second highest selling local distiller in Oregon was Bendistillery (Crater Lake Spirits), which sold around 47,700 gallons here in Oregon, roughly 5 percent of Hood River Distillers volume sold.

Although Oregon distilleries may not compete with the brewing industry or wineries when looking at jobs or sales, it is growing at a much faster pace than those more well-known craft beverage industries. Expect to see new distilleries arriving soon as the industry is still young and Oregonian’s taste for craft spirits and liquor is on the rise.

To learn more about distilling in Oregon, read Regional Economist Damon Runberg's article "Distilling in Oregon: A Small, Yet Growing Component of the State’s Craft Beverage Industry."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Higher Sales and Wages in Male-Owned Firms

In 2012, the U.S. Census estimates Oregon had 339,000 firms. Of these, 331,000 were classifiable by gender, ethnicity, or race. Men owned half of these firms, while women owned 37 percent, and equally male/female owned businesses made up 13 percent of the total.

Although men’s firm ownership share was proportionate with the state's population (50%), male-owned firms made up 75 percent of all firm sales and receipts in Oregon. Equally male/female owned firms accounted for 13 percent of sales and receipts, the same as the share of total firms. Sales and receipts from female-owned businesses made up a smaller share (12%) of total sales and receipts than their firm ownership share. Oregon’s male-owned firms with payroll employees also paid higher average wages ($39,000) than their female-owned counterparts ($28,600).

This disparity in firm sales and receipts and average wages can be partially attributed to the industry distribution of firms by male and female ownership. Oregon industries with the largest sales, receipts, or value of shipments in 2012 included wholesale trade, retail trade, manufacturing, and construction. The number of male-owned firms in these industries totaled 48,900. By comparison, women owned less than half as many firms (20,900) in these sectors.

Oregon’s top-paying industries also had far more firms owned by men. Male-owned businesses made up 61 percent of the total in management of companies and enterprises, which paid an average of $69,200 in 2012. Men owned roughly two-thirds of all finance and insurance firms ($60,000), as well as all mining and quarrying businesses ($56,400).


Still, in industries where both men and women had high concentrations of firm ownership, the male-owned businesses with payroll employees reported higher average wages. Female-owned retail trade businesses (13,700) outnumbered retail businesses owned by men (12,500). The average wage at the female-owned businesses was $25,300, while the average wage at male-owned retail firms was $28,900.

To learn more about female-owned firms, read Senior Economic Analyst Gail Krumenauer's article "Business Ownership by Gender in Oregon". 

Oregon’s Income is Less Dependent on Earnings, More on Benefits

The largest source of total personal income for Oregon residents is earnings (60%), followed by transfer receipts (21%), and dividends, interest, and rent (19%). In other words, for every $100 of income that accrued to Oregonians in 2015, $60.50 was derived from earnings, $20.60 from transfer receipts, and $18.90 from investment income.

Oregon’s per capita personal income was $42,974 in 2015, or 90 percent of the U.S. per capita income. Compared with the nation, Oregon relies more on investment income and less on earnings for its personal income. Over time, the composition of Oregon’s total income has changed, with more income coming from transfer receipts and less from earnings, although earnings still make up $3 out of every $5 earned by Oregonians.
‘Earnings’ is essentially income derived from working. Nearly half of Oregon’s wages are earned in just three industries: government; trade, transportation, and utilities; and education and health care (private). We’re no different from the nation in that regard. However, Oregon diverges from national trends in that we derive more earnings from manufacturing and company headquarters (management of companies and enterprises). For manufacturing, not only is it more concentrated in Oregon, it also pays more than the national average. For company headquarters, Oregon wages are lower than the national average but it’s still a high-paying industry which, like manufacturing, is relatively more concentrated here.

To learn more about other components of Oregonians' income: transfer receipts, dividends, interest, and rent, read Regional Economist Amy Vander Vliet's article "Oregon’s Income is Less Dependent on Earnings, More on Benefits".

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Oregon Employers Had 48,000 Job Vacancies This Spring

Oregon businesses reported 47,600 vacancies in spring 2016. That's an increase of 6,400 from winter, but 5,700 fewer job vacancies than the all-time high of 53,300 in spring 2015.

Oregon's construction industry, which has shown impressive job growth recently, reported 4,700 job
vacancies this spring. That marks an increase of 1,000 from the prior year, and the industry's highest vacancy total since the Employment Department's quarterly job vacancy survey began in 2013.

Hiring remained strong across the economy. Nine different industries reported at least 2,000 job vacancies in spring. Occupations with the largest number of vacancies reflected the broad variety in hiring. They included cooks, personal care aides, truck drivers, production workers, registered nurses, and auto body repairers.

At a regional level, the Mid-Valley -- which consists of the Salem and Albany metropolitan areas and Yamhill County -- saw a large increase in vacancies this spring. Industries with the largest gains included health care and construction. The Portland Metro area (Multnomah and Washington counties) and Lane County saw the biggest declines in the number of job vacancies over the year.
For more details about Oregon's job vacancies, visit the Publications page at QualityInfo.org and scroll down to the Job Vacancy Survey section.

Oregon Employers Had 48,000 Job Vacancies This Spring

Oregon businesses reported 47,600 vacancies in spring 2016. That's an increase of 6,400 from winter, but 5,700 fewer job vacancies than the all-time high of 53,300 in spring 2015.

Oregon's construction industry, which has shown impressive job growth recently, reported 4,700 job
vacancies this spring. That marks an increase of 1,000 from the prior year, and the industry's highest vacancy total since the Employment Department's quarterly job vacancy survey began in 2013.

Hiring remained strong across the economy. Nine different industries reported at least 2,000 job vacancies in spring. Occupations with the largest number of vacancies reflected the broad variety in hiring. They included cooks, personal care aides, truck drivers, production workers, registered nurses, and auto body repairers.

At a regional level, the Mid-Valley -- which consists of the Salem and Albany metropolitan areas and Yamhill County -- saw a large increase in vacancies this spring. Industries with the largest gains included health care and construction. The Portland Metro area (Multnomah and Washington counties) and Lane County saw the biggest declines in the number of job vacancies over the year.
For more details about Oregon's job vacancies, visit the Publications page at QualityInfo.org and scroll down to the Job Vacancy Survey section.