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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Nearly One in Four Workers in Oregon is 55 or Older

Oregon’s workforce is aging. The number of Oregon jobs held by workers age 55 and over tripled from 1992 to 2015, while the total number of jobs grew by just 42 percent. Workers 55 and over held just 10 percent of the jobs in 1992, increasing their share to 23 percent of all jobs by 2015. Driving this trend is the fact that much of the Baby Boom Generation is now 55 and over, and they are more likely to be in the labor force than previous generations were at this age. Many of these workers are probably planning to retire in the next 10 years, taking their skills and experience with them.

Although the aging workforce is a general demographic trend, it impacts employers, industries, or regions to varying degrees. Employers should know the age profile of their own workforce so they can plan accordingly for increased turnover from retirees. At a broader level, workforce planners need to know the demographic profiles of entire industries and regions to help gauge the need for future replacement workers.

Rural Counties Have Older Workforces

Rural county workforces tend to have a higher share of older workers and will feel the impact of the aging workforce more than metro counties. In counties outside metropolitan areas, more than one out of four (27%) workers are 55 years or older. That represents more than 61,000 workers in rural Oregon who are probably hoping to retire within the next decade.

Although older workers are a smaller share of the workforce in metro counties, there are a lot more of them. Multnomah County alone has more workers over the age of 55 (104,000 workers) than all of rural Oregon combined (61,000). However, Multnomah County has nearly as many workers in the next youngest age group (100,000 workers ages 45 to 54), while rural Oregon has far fewer workers in the next youngest age group (49,000 workers ages 45 to 54). In general, metro counties will have an easier time filling vacancies left by retiring workers from their local workforce. Rural counties will need to recruit workers from other areas to sustain the size of their current workforces.

To learn about industries that have an older workforce, read "Oregon’s Aging Workforce by Industry and County, 2015", written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Oregon's Forest Sector Employment Totals 61,000 in 2015

In recent months we've updated the data for a project completed in partnership with the Oregon Department of Forestry and Oregon Forest Resources Institute to provide a comprehensive count of forest sector jobs in Oregon.

Forest sector-related employment in Oregon totaled 61,000 in 2015, an increase of almost 4 percent from 58,800 in 2013. Forest-related jobs paid relatively well, with an annual average wage of $50,000, roughly 4 percent more than $48,300 for all jobs covered by unemployment insurance in 2015.

Primary forest products -- which includes sawmills and wood preservation, paper manufacturing, and veneer and plywood manufacturing -- made up the largest segment of the forest sector total with 19,500 jobs. Forestry support accounted for another 11,400 jobs, found in logging, sawmill and woodworking machinery manufacturing, and other forestry support-related industries. 

The state's forest sector also included 11,000 jobs in secondary forest products (e.g., millwork and other various types of wood product manufacturing), almost 7,700 forestry management jobs, another 4,700 jobs associated with wood product transportation, and 2,900 jobs with forest product wholesalers.

While forest sector jobs accounted for roughly 3 percent of all employment in 2015, the prevalance of forest-related jobs was much higher in some rural areas. Forest sector employment accounted for roughly one-fifth of all jobs in Grant County, and accounted for more than 10 percent of employment in Douglas, Lake, Jefferson, and Crook counties.

More details about Oregon's forest sector employment will be featured in the upcoming Oregon Forest Facts & Figures publication from the Oregon Forest Resources Institute.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Difficulty Filling Job Vacancies Reaches Four-Year High

Our latest quarterly job vacancy survey results show Oregon businesses reported 52,300 job vacancies in fall 2016. That's an increase of 7,400 job vacancies compared with the prior fall.

The job vacancy numbers reflect continued, strong employment growth in the state. This fall the 2-to-1 ratio of unemployed Oregonians to job vacancies remained its lowest since comparable records began for the third consecutive quarter.

With continued job growth and low unemployment, businesses have also reported more difficulty filling job vacancies In fall 2016, the share of all job openings reported as difficult to fill (68%) hit its highest point in the four-year history of the quarterly job vacancy survey. For more than one-third (37%) of all difficult-to-fill vacancies businesses cited a lack of applicants, compared with 30 percent in fall 2015.

Anecdotes from employers across the state illustrated this challenge:
" Few applications; competitive labor market" (Rogue Valley)
" Low response to ads and poor response to completing the interview process." (Portland)
"Zero applicants" (Central Oregon)
"Just not many available [applicants] in this area." (Eastern Oregon)

Oregon employers also reported far fewer job vacancies paying less than $10 per hour. That's due in part to the state's rising minimum wage, which moved to $9.75 in one half of the state's counties and $9.50 in the other half as of July. Yet, the biggest increase in job vacancies over the year occurred for job openings paying between $15 and $20 per hour, well above minimum wage. The lack of applicants and other challenges faced by businesses in a competitive labor market could also push up wages.

For more details on recent Oregon job vacancies, visit the “publications” tab on and scroll down to the “Job Vacancy Survey” section. You can also contact me at or 503.947.1268 with questions!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Oregon’s Minimum Wage Consistently About Half the Median Hourly Wage

On July 1, 2016, the minimum wage increased from $9.25 per hour to $9.50 in Oregon’s 13 nonurban counties, and to $9.75 everywhere else in the state. Oregon’s minimum wage is set by the legislature to rise on July 1 each year through 2022, when it will reach $12.50 for nonurban counties, $14.75 in the Portland area, and $13.50 everywhere else. Starting in 2023, the minimum wage will increase annually with inflation. Nationwide, the minimum wage has remained $7.25 since 2009.

The recent and future increases could change the relationship of Oregon’s minimum wage and median wage over time by raising the minimum wage faster than the median wage. The median wage is the wage at which 50 percent of the jobs pay less and 50 percent pay more. The median wage tends to be a better indicator of what the “average” worker might earn compared with the mean, as the median is not as affected by very high wages.

Over the past decade, Oregon’s minimum wage has been about half the median wage. This is not by design, but Oregon’s minimum wage and median wage have moved roughly in tandem over time. As of early 2016, the most recent figure available, the median wage for most jobs in Oregon was $18.49 per hour. That was double the minimum wage at the time and consistent with the historical ratio of minimum wage to median wage.

Both the minimum and median wages have increased at a similar pace since the early 2000s. However, the percent change for the minimum and median wages varies from year to year. From 2001 to 2016, Oregon’s minimum wage increased at an annual average rate of 2.2 percent per year, while the median hourly wage increased at an annual average rate of 2.4 percent. In some years the median wage increases at a faster rate than the minimum wage, while the minimum wage increases faster in other years. The minimum wage was the same in early 2016 as it was the year before, while the median wage increased 2.6 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Wages are influenced by a variety of factors, but inflation explains at least some of the similarity in the increases of the median and minimum wages over the years. In fact, it’s had a direct impact on the minimum wage since 2004, when Oregon began adjusting the minimum wage each year based on inflation as measured by the U.S. City Average Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for All Items (CPI-U). The inflation-based adjustments will resume in 2023.

It will take a few years before we know for sure if the new minimum wage increases, enacted by Oregon’s legislature to occur each year from 2016 through 2022, will alter the relationship between Oregon’s minimum wage and median wage.

Article written by Nick Beleiciks, State Employment Economist at the Oregon Employment Department.

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 in Review: Another Winning Year of Job Growth in Oregon

Oregon’s job growth started 2016 with a sprint and finished the year strong, if not quite at a sprint’s pace. Early in the year, the state reached a personal record of 64,200 jobs added in the 12 months through April, before slowing down later in the year. The 49,500 new jobs added from November 2015 to November 2016 was enough to earn bronze as the third fastest November-to-November jobs gain since 2000, drafting behind 2015 and 2014 which came in first and second.

Oregon’s over-the-year growth rate of 2.7 percent was well above the historical average and ranks fifth for growth rates since 2000. That is a brisk rate, but noticeably slower than the previous two years of 3.3 percent in 2015 and 3.0 percent in 2014.

The jobs added in 2016 were not just low-paying jobs. On the contrary, a mix of industries paying lower, middle, and higher average wages contributed to overall job growth. This means the average real hourly wage of Oregon’s workers continued to rise. Now approaching $25.00 per hour, the average real hourly wage in 2016 is the highest it’s been in recent years.

Oregon’s unemployment rate fell over the year, moving from 5.6 percent in November 2015 to 5.0 percent in November 2016. The strong job growth during the year was matched by a fall in the number of unemployed and an increase in Oregon’s labor force. The unemployment rate in 2016 was well below Oregon’s long-term (back to 1976) historical average of 7.2 percent.

Learn more about key industries that drove job growth and the forecast for 2017 in the article "2016 in Review: Another Winning Year of Job Growth in Oregon" by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.