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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Twenty-Three Counties Had Low Historic Unemployment Rates in April

Twenty-three counties were at or tied with their historic low unemployment rates. Benton County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April at 2.8 percent. Grant County (6.9%) registered the highest rate for the month. This was the lowest unemployment rate for Grant County since comparable records began in 1990.

Ten of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 3.7 percent and 22 counties were at or below the national rate of 4.4 percent. Gilliam County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 3.1 percentage points, more than any other county.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all of Oregon’s six broad regions between April 2016 and April 2017. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+3.6%). Southern Oregon (+2.1%), the Willamette Valley (+2.0%), the Oregon Coast (+1.4%), Portland (+1.3%), and Eastern Oregon (+0.9%) also saw growth.

See the full labor force and unemployment by area press release in 36 counties and metropolitan areas in Oregon.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Oregon’s Leisure and Hospitality Industry

Leisure and hospitality businesses employed an average of 199,000 workers in 2016. The largest share, three-fourths, worked in food services and drinking places. The remaining employment was about evenly split between accommodations and arts, entertainment, and recreation. During the Great Recession, employment in this industry fell by 6.1 percent from 2008 to 2010. Oregon’s all-industry employment decline was slightly steeper, with payroll jobs declining by 7.4 percent from pre-recession peak to trough. By 2016, leisure and hospitality employment rose by 22.6 percent compared with a gain of 14.4 percent for total industry employment.

We often think of leisure and hospitality as a tourism industry. While many jobs in this industry are reliant upon tourism, local spending also plays a significant role. The Oregon Tourism Commission contracts Dean Runyan Associates to produce travel spending impact analysis for Oregon and other states. According to their latest Oregon Travel Impacts report, travel spending generated 69,000 direct jobs in the accommodations and food services sector and 19,100 direct jobs in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector in 2016.

In Oregon, there were just 119 leisure and hospitality establishments that had more than 100 workers at the beginning of 2016. Of Oregon’s 192,712 leisure and hospitality jobs in March 2016, 117,206 were employed in establishments with 10 to 49 workers.

For more information about Oregon's leisure and hospitality industry, see the full report.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Agriculture's Impact on Rural Employment

The Employment Department has released a new special report: The Employment Landscape of Rural Oregon. This is the third in a series of posts about several key takeaway points from the report.

Agriculture is a critical industry in rural communities. There were around 20,300 agricultural jobs in Oregon’s rural counties in 2015. That represents 36 percent of statewide agricultural jobs. This compares with 17 percent of the state’s population and just 13 percent of the state’s nonfarm payroll jobs being in rural counties.

Similar to the share of agricultural jobs, farm wages and salaries earned in rural counties account for 36 percent of statewide farm earnings. Nonfarm payroll wages in rural counties account for just 10 percent of the statewide total. Agriculture is a classic traded-sector industry, where nearly all of the crops or animals raised are sold outside of the local economy. Rural Oregon’s disproportionate share of farm wages helps stabilize demand for local support industries as these wages are spent at local grocery stores and restaurants.

Over the past 10 years (2005-2015) agricultural employment declined by 4 percent (-2,100 jobs) across Oregon. The statewide figure is pulled down by declines in metropolitan counties (-2,700), whereas rural counties saw employment rise a modest 3 percent over the past decade (+600 jobs). This urban/rural divide doesn’t paint a complete picture as rural employment gains are driven by growth in two regions, the Columbia River Gorge (especially Hood River, Umatilla, and Morrow counties) and the Klamath Basin. Employment increased by nearly 1,000 jobs in counties stretching along the Columbia River from the Gorge east to Hermiston. Despite years of sustained drought, employment in the Klamath Basin rose by around 150 jobs (+7%). Agricultural employment declined in all other rural regions of the state from 2005 to 2015, including the coast, Eastern Oregon, and Central Oregon.
For more information about rural Oregon, see the full report.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rural Oregon Jobs Profile

The Employment Department has released a new special report: The Employment Landscape of Rural Oregon. This is the second in a series of posts about several key takeaway points from the report.

Rural Oregon counties had 238,000 jobs in 2016. The 23 counties combined accounted for 13 percent of Oregon’s job total last year. About 180,000 rural jobs are in private sector industries and another 57,000 jobs are in government at the federal, state and local levels.

Many rural communities are heavily dependent on just a handful of industries. This makes them particularly vulnerable to localized economic shocks and can make it difficult for these communities to recover. In contrast, larger urban areas are less dependent on individual businesses or industries. A local shock in one industry can be overcome by gains in a different industry.

Rural Oregon was hit hard during the most recent recession because a large share of its employment base was concentrated in wood product manufacturing. When the national housing bubble burst, the demand for manufactured wood products was greatly diminished. More than 40 percent of rural Oregon employment is concentrated in natural resources, leisure and hospitality (tourism), and government. Together those three sectors make up around 27 percent of the employment in urban Oregon. Many of the major industry sectors in rural communities continue to struggle, while the hot industries across the state, such as construction, professional and business services, and information are more heavily concentrated in cities.
For more information about rural Oregon, see the full report.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Reaches Record Low 3.7 Percent in April

Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 3.7 percent in April from 3.8 percent in March, reaching a new record low since comparable records began in 1976. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in April. Oregon’s rate was significantly below its year-ago rate of 5.0 percent in April 2016.

In April, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 6,600 following a revised gain of 1,300 in March. Over the past 12 months, Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment rose 39,100, or 2.1 percent, which was a deceleration from the growth rate near or above 3 percent throughout much of the past four years. Despite the deceleration, Oregon is still growing faster than the U.S. growth rate of 1.6 percent.
Since April 2016, Oregon’s construction sector grew the fastest of the major industries, adding 6,400 jobs, or 7.2 percent. Transportation, warehousing and utilities (+3,600 jobs, or 6.0%) also expanded rapidly, due to growth in transportation and warehousing. Professional and business services (+8,700 jobs, or 3.7%) was the third-fastest growing major industry category.

You can find more information about Oregon's job growth in the full news release

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fun Facts About Oregon Mothers with a Recent Birth

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers! Here are some fun facts about Oregon mothers who had a birth in the past year:


46,087


The number of Oregon women between the ages of 15 and 50 in 2015 who had given birth in the past 12 months according to the American Community Survey.

30.8%

The percentage of Oregon women ages 15 to 50 in 2015 who had a birth in the past year that were unmarried. About 69.2% percent of women ages 15 to 50 who had a birth in the past year were married. About 68.6% of teens ages 15 to 19 who had a birth in the past year were unmarried.

5,844

The number of Oregon women ages 15 to 50 living with a cohabiting partner in 2015 who had given birth in the past year.

58.9%

The percentage of women in Oregon ages 16 to 50 who had a birth in the past year who were in the labor force.

4,318 

Women in Oregon who gave birth in the past year received public assistance income.

30.8%

The percentage of Oregon women who gave birth in the past year who had a bachelor’s degree or higher. About 89 percent of women who gave birth in the past year have at least a high school diploma or equivalent.

62

The number of births in the past year per 1,000 women ages 15 to 50 with a graduate or professional degree in Oregon. The number was 46 per 1,000 for women whose highest level of education was a bachelor’s degree. 

Noah and Emma

The most popular baby names for boys and girls, respectively, in the U.S. in 2015 according to the Social Security Administration. Other baby names that were in the top of most popular names for boys in 2015 were: Liam, William, Mason, James, Benjamin, Jacob, Michael, Elijah, and Ethan. For baby girls, Olivia, Ava, Sophia, Isabella, Mia, Charlotte, Abigail, Emily, and Harper were in the top of most popular names.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Lack of Applicants in a Growing Economy

Oregon businesses reported 50,800 jobs vacancies at any given time in 2016. They reported nearly two-thirds (64%) of those job vacancies as difficult to fill. Four primary challenges accounted for three-fourths of all difficult-to-fill job vacancies: a lack of applicants (12,000 vacancies); a lack of qualified candidates (5,000); unfavorable working conditions (3,600); and low wages (2,700).

With unemployment near record lows and continued job growth, a lack of applicants posed the greatest challenge to employers. In 2016, two out of every five (38%) difficult-to-fill job vacancies, and almost one-fourth (23%) of all vacancies in Oregon had an insufficient number of applicants, or none at all.
In 2016, health care and social assistance employers reported the largest number of difficult-to-fill vacancies (7,300), and the largest number of total job vacancies (10,200). Health care often tops the industry list of job vacancies; it is a large industry that has experienced consistent job growth since at least 1990, regardless of economic conditions. Yet employers faced challenges filling job openings across the economy in 2016. The top occupations by number of difficult-to-fill vacancies included construction laborers, personal care aides, nursing assistants, restaurant cooks, truck drivers, retail salespersons, and production workers.

Oregon businesses reported difficulty filling 69 percent of vacancies that required previous work experience, while less than half (45%) of job openings with no previous work experience posed a challenge. This was also the case for many occupations; larger shares of job openings requiring previous work experience were difficult to fill than vacancies in the same occupation with no experience needed.

Businesses can expect the labor market to remain tight until either economic conditions or requirements for some vacancies -- such as prior work experience or other characteristics -- change. More information can be found in the full report -- A Lack of Applicants in a Growing Economy -- or by listening to our podcast below!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Employment Landscape of Rural Oregon

The Employment Department has released a new special report: The Employment Landscape of Rural Oregon. This is the first in a series of posts about several key takeaway points from the report.

First, a quick definition issue:
For this report, "rural Oregon" includes any county characterized as “nonmetropolitan” in federal data sources. Urban counties are those defined as part of a “metropolitan statistical area.” We selected this definition due to the breadth of information available at the county level. A shortcoming of this definition is that it undercounts the true impact of rural places. That's because areas inside metropolitan counties but outside city limits – such as Cave Junction, Florence, Vernonia, or Willamina – are included as urban here.

Altogether Oregon has 13 metropolitan counties and 23 nonmetropolitan or rural counties. 

Uneven Recovery
Oregon has been in a period of employment expansion since February 2010. In October 2014 statewide employment levels exceeded the pre-recession peak. However, in rural Oregon the recovery is ongoing. Today, employment remains 3.2 percent below the pre-recession peak in the combined rural counties, while metro counties as a group are solidly above their pre-recession peak employment. In order to fully recover from the recession, rural counties would need to add about 7,800 additional jobs, which would take another two years at the current pace of job growth. Twenty counties in Oregon remain below their pre-recession employment peak and 17 of them are rural counties.

In addition to having further to grow to reach pre-recession employment levels in some rural areas around the state, the jobs that have returned in nonmetro areas have more often been lower- and mid-wage jobs. Higher-wage jobs have yet to recover.
Between the second quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009, Oregon’s rural counties lost almost 27,000 private-sector jobs. Rural Oregon’s high-wage industries – such as wood product manufacturing, specialty trade contractors, and forestry and logging – dropped more than 11,000 jobs in the Great Recession. Mid-wage industries dropped about 6,000 jobs in rural Oregon, and lower-wage industries lost 9,000 jobs. 

In the recovery period from the second quarter of 2009 through the second quarter of 2016, lower- and mid-wage industries, such as food services and drinking places, have made full recoveries in Oregon’s rural counties overall. The higher-wage industries have added 6,000 jobs, little more than half of the jobs lost between 2007 and 2009. The higher-wage industries have added 6,000 jobs, little more than half of the jobs lost between 2007 and 2009.
For more information about rural Oregon, see our full report, or send questions my way!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Oregon’s Computer Occupations: Working on the Internet of Things

With 50,900 workers in 2016, Oregon ranks 23rd in the nation for total employment in computer and mathematical occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics, computer occupations made up nearly 3 percent of Oregon’s total employment in 2016. There are many different computer occupations. One out of four Oregonians employed in a computer-related field in 2016 worked as software developers for computer applications. Computer user support specialists, made up 15 percent of Oregon’s computer-related employment. Thirteen percent of the computer occupation workforce in Oregon were employed in a computer occupation not otherwise specified in the current Standard Occupational Classification system.

Computer occupations in Oregon pay about 1.7 times more than the average for all occupations. However, wages vary across occupations and metro areas. Statewide, computer and information research scientists have an annual average wage of $145,384, while computer user support specialists have an annual average wage of $51,580 – still higher than the statewide average for all occupations. This wage disparity among occupations is due in part to the education requirements for each occupation.

The Oregon Employment Department projects that there will be 16,614 job openings in computer occupations from 2014 to 2024. The majority of openings will be new growth openings, rather than replacement openings for workers leaving the occupation for reasons such as retirement. All computer occupations are projected to grow faster than the statewide average, except for computer programmers, which are projected to grow by 3 percent over the next decade. Software developers will have the most job openings at 3,277 statewide, followed by computer user support specialists with 2,567 job openings.


For more information on Oregon's computer occupations, see the full article written by Workforce Analyst Emily Starbuck

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Lack of Applicants in a Growing Economy

Oregon employers reported 50,800 vacancies in 2016. Businesses reported difficulty filling 32,700 vacancies in 2016, a majority (64%) of all job openings last year. For each of their difficult-to-fill vacancies, employers offered open-ended responses to identify the primary reason for the unfilled opening. These responses were then sorted into 12 categories. Just four reasons accounted for nearly three-fourths (73%) of all difficult-to-fill vacancies. They were a lack of applicants (38%), a lack of qualified candidates (16%), unfavorable working conditions (11%), and low wages (9%).

Job characteristics differed among the most common reasons for difficulty filling job vacancies. Those with a lack of applicants and lack of qualified candidates generally paid higher average wages. Job openings with a lack of applicants offered $18.21 per hour on average, while vacancies with a lack of qualified candidates averaged $22.49 per hour. Difficult-to-fill vacancies with a lack of qualified candidates were also more likely to require education beyond high school, and nearly all required previous work experience.
For more information about Oregon’s job vacancies, read the full article.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Median Wages Increased in Third Quarter 2016 in Oregon

Oregon is finally enjoying the benefits of a strong economy. Robust economic and employment growth often leads to increasing wages, and that seems to be happening in Oregon. Average wages per person increased 5.1 percent over the year to $3,929 per month. So did median wages, and they are usually more representative of a typical wage. Additionally, wages increased at all levels of wages. The lowest-paid fifth of workers had their median wage rise 5 percent over the year; the highest-paid fifth of workers had their median wage rise 5.8 percent. In fact, all wage groups had median wages that rose in the 5 to 6 percent range.

Of course some Oregon employment trends remain unchanged. The information, government, construction, wholesale trade, finance, and manufacturing industries still provided more of the higher wage jobs. Leisure and hospitality still had the lowest median wage of any industry during the third quarter of 2016. Big employers, those with more than 500 employees, paid significantly more per hour than any other sized group of employers. Big employers provided about one-third of the jobs in Oregon, but more than half of all jobs that paid more than $50 per hour.

For more information see the full third quarter 2016 report

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Eighteen Counties Had Low Historic Unemployment Rates in March

Benton County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March at 2.9 percent. Grant County (7.1%) registered the highest rate for the month. This was the lowest unemployment rate for Grant County since comparable records began in 1990. Eighteen counties were at or tied with their historic low unemployment rates.

Nine of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 3.8 percent and 22 counties were at or below the national rate of 4.5 percent. Gilliam County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 2.9 percentage points, more than any other county.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all of Oregon’s six broad regions between March 2016 and March 2017. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+3.1%) and Southern Oregon (+2.9%). The Willamette Valley (+1.8%), Portland (+1.4%), and Eastern Oregon (+0.7%) also saw growth. The Oregon Coast saw a negligible growth rate of 0.1 percent over the year.
See the full labor force and unemployment by area press release in 36 counties and metropolitan areas in Oregon.