Friday, September 13, 2019

Earn While You Learn in a High-Wage, High-Demand Job with Apprenticeship Training

Not interested in going to college? Do you like learning in a hands-on environment while earning money at the same time? An apprenticeship might be a great training opportunity for you.

But how do you decide which apprenticeship program to pursue? Some things to consider when you are contemplating career choices are whether there will likely be job openings available once you complete your training and whether the job pays enough to support your needs. We can help you with that.

The table includes those jobs where paid apprenticeships are offered to help you learn the skills of the job. This list only includes occupations that are considered to be in high demand and offer high wages in Oregon. There are other apprenticeships available but they may not be considered high-wage and high-demand jobs.
For more information about apprenticeship opportunities in Oregon, visit the apprenticeship website of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

This article was written by workforce analyst Shawna Sykes

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Oregon’s Multiple Jobholders in 2018

In 2018, 110,000 Oregonians held more than one job in addition to their primary job and were considered to be multiple jobholders. The multiple-jobholding rate – the proportion of multiple jobholders among all employed workers 16 years and older – was 5.5 percent, which was above the U.S. rate of 5.0 percent. Oregon’s multiple-jobholding rate reached a recent high of 6.7 percent in 2012, and was as low as 5.2 percent in 2004. Multiple jobholding has generally become rarer in Oregon and the U.S. since 1995. Research shows that people are less likely to take on a second job than they were in the past.

Oregon workers were more likely to hold more than one job at a time than our national counterparts, a trend dating back at least two decades. Oregon’s multiple jobholding rate has been higher than the U.S. every year since 1994, with the brief exception of 2004. The U.S. multiple jobholding rate has remained at 4.9 percent or 5.0 percent since 2010.

Economic conditions can certainly affect whether or not an individual wants or needs to work more than one job, but there is no clear association between the multiple-jobholding rate and the business cycle. That is because fewer jobs are available during recessions, right when more people need a second job to help meet their expenses. During expansions, increased income and looser credit constraints mean fewer people need a second job to meet expenses. These factors seem to cancel each other out on the whole, which is why multiple jobholding rates don’t rise or fall significantly with the business cycle.
Learn more about multiple jobholders in Oregon here

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization

Unemployment statistics are among the most closely watched and most widely reported labor market numbers. While many people are familiar with the unemployment rate (discussed in more detail in this post), in recent years the “Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization” published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics have grown in popularity as statistics for identifying slack in the labor market. These alternative measures, commonly identified by a “U” in front of a number from 1 to 6, provide both more narrowly (U-1 and U-2) and more broadly (U-4, U-5, and U-6) defined estimates of labor underutilization than the official unemployment rate (identified as U-3).

This tracks the number of persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer as a percent of the civilian labor force. By this measure, 1.2 percent of the Oregon labor force met this criterion in 2018.

This considers the percentage of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs as a percentage of the civilian labor force.  By this measure, 2.0 percent of the Oregon labor force met this criteria in 2018.

This is what is known as the official unemployment rate. It is the total unemployed as a percentage of the civilian labor force. In 2018 in Oregon, the official unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

This measures the total unemployed plus discouraged workers as a percentage of of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers. Discouraged workers are defined as those who want a job, are available for work and have searched for work in the prior year; however they are not currently looking for a job for reasons related to the job-market. If these workers are added, the measure results in only a modest increase relative to the official rate. In 2018, the U-4 rate  was 4.3 percent.

This includes the total unemployed, plus discouraged workers plus all other marginally attached workers as a percentage of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers. Marginally attached workers are defined as persons who are neither working nor currently looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for a job sometime in the past year. This group includes those who are not currently looking for work for reasons such as lack of child care or transportation. Using this definition, 5.1 percent of the civilian labor force plus the marginally attached workers met these criteria in 2018.

This includes not only all unemployed and marginally attached persons, but also those employed part time for economic reasons. This latter group provides an objective measure of a portion of the underemployed (the so-called “involuntary part-time workers”). To be classified as employed part time for economic reasons, an individual must also be working part time because of poor business conditions or because of the inability to find full-time work and must want and be available for full-time work. Involuntary part-time employment does not capture all underemployed, such as those whose education may qualify them for a more highly skilled position. However, these types of underemployment are fairly subjective and more difficult to quantify. Using the broadest measure of labor underutilization tracked by the BLS, U-6, 8.3 percent of the civilian labor force plus the marginally attached was either unemployed, marginally attached to the labor force, or underemployed in 2018.
Read more about the alternative measures of labor underutilization here. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Official Definition of Unemployment

Unemployment statistics are among the most closely watched and most widely reported labor market numbers. These figures provide insight into the degree to which available labor resources are being utilized in the economy.

The official definition of unemployment used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is all persons within the civilian noninstitutional population (CNP) who do not have a job, but are currently available for work and are actively searching for work. The CNP consists of all persons age 16 years and over, excluding those on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and the institutional population (e.g., prison inmates or those in homes for the aged).

Unemployment is sometimes thought to include only those individuals who both qualify for and are receiving unemployment insurance benefits. However, many outside this group are considered to be unemployed based on the official definition used by BLS. Examples include those who have exhausted unemployment benefits, new labor market entrants – including recent high school and college graduates – and those who are not covered by unemployment insurance, such as the formerly self-employed. These groups are considered unemployed as long as they are actively seeking work.

The official definition of unemployment also excludes certain groups who are sometimes thought of as being unemployed or “underemployed.” Those who would like to work and have actively searched for work sometime in the last 12 months – so-called marginally attached and discouraged workers – are not counted in the official definition because they are not currently seeking work. People working part time who would prefer full-time work are also not counted as unemployed because they are working – albeit fewer hours than they would like. Finally, those who are not employed (i.e., did work for pay or profit) and do not fit the above definition of unemployed are classified as “not in the labor force.”

Given the definition of unemployment, what is the unemployment rate? It is, simply put, the percentage of the civilian labor force that is unemployed. The civilian labor force is the sum of those in the CNP that are either employed or unemployed. Mathematically, the official unemployment rate is defined as:

Unemployment Rate = (unemployed)/(employed + unemployed) *100
= (unemployed)/(civilian labor force)*100

Often, critics suggest that the official unemployment rate understates true unemployment. In fact, since the official rate was first computed in 1940, only minor changes have been made to the definition of unemployment despite numerous outside reviews. The official measure has withstood the test of time largely because of its objectivity.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Celebrating Oregon's Workers: Labor Day 2019

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City. By 1884, 23 other states adopted the holiday to celebrate workers. In the same year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday within the District of Columbia and its territories. 

The United States differs from the majority of the world on the date of their Labor Day holiday. A large number of foreign countries celebrate May Day (May 1st), which is also called International Workers’ Day as their workers’ holiday.

In recognition of Labor Day 2019, here are some workforce-related statistics:

The total civilian labor force in Oregon in July 2019. The United States had 163.4 million in the same time period.

The number of Oregonians who held two or more jobs in 2018. Roughly 5.5 percent of Oregonians held multiple jobs in 2018, slightly higher than the 5.0 percent of workers who worked multiple jobs in the U.S. 

The number of unemployed Oregonians in July 2019. Nationwide, approximately 6 million individuals were unemployed in July of this year.


The number of union members in Oregon in 2018. About 14 percent of Oregon's workers are union members. The membership rate for private-sector workers (7.1%) was much lower than the rate for public-sector workers (51.0%). Nationwide, the union membership rate was 10.5 percent in 2018.

The estimated median hourly wage for all occupations in Oregon in May 2018. The Portland metro area had the highest median hourly wage of Oregon's metro areas at $21.36. Nationwide, the estimated median hourly wage was $18.58.

The average commute time (in minutes) to work in Oregon in 2017. The United States average was higher at 26.4 minutes in 2017.

The percentage of workers 16 and over that worked from home in 2017 in Oregon, which was higher than the nationwide average of 3.7 percent.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Are Millennials More Prone to Job Hopping than Previous Generations?

While on vacation, my father (a baby boomer) was lamenting about how millennials are so much more “flaky” as employees, constantly jumping from one job to another. This was the classic “millennials are job hoppers” myth that has become widespread. But is it true? Are millennials likely to job hop more frequently than previous generations? For some clarification, the Pew Research Center defines generations based on the below following age groupings. The oldest Millennials are on the door step of 40.

Perhaps the stereotype comes from comparing millennials today to older generations today. In other words, comparing the job stability of 22 to 34 year olds versus those in their 40s and 50s. Looking at the current Oregon snapshot from 2018 we see that the employment churn rate for millennials, younger workers from their mid-20s to late 30s, is higher than among older workers. And, the youngest cohort of workers, Gen Z (or I Gen), posted an even higher rate of churn than millennials. Millennials’ churn rate was roughly 11 percent in 2018. This means that roughly 10 percent to 15 percent of stable jobs held by millennials end in a given quarter. The employment churn rate is around 8 percent for Gen X and even slightly lower for most boomers.

We would expect these more established workers to have a much lower churn rate regardless of any generational differences. Inversely, we would expect young workers, those beginning a career, working part-time while attending school, or starting a family, to have a higher rate of employment churn. A more fair, apples-to-apples, comparison would be to compare the churn rate of current millennials to the churn rate of Gen X and Boomer workers when they were the same age.
It turns out that if we compare Boomers and Gen X workers when they were in their late 20s and 30s to the current crop (i.e., today’s millennials) we see that the churn rate is nearly identical. Millennials are not leaving stable jobs at a faster pace than their parents when they were at the same age. In fact, for several years the older millennials posted notably lower churn rates than previous generations. This was likely the impact of the most recent recession. Typically, churn rates accelerate during economic expansions when labor demand is high and the supply is relatively low. The most recent recession was so severe that younger workers did not have the luxury of job hopping since there were relatively few jobs to hop into.Next time a Gen Xer or Boomer complains about millennials being discontent and constantly jumping from one job to another, remind them that they likely did the same thing when they were younger.

Read Regional Economist Damon Runberg's full article here

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Oregon’s Wood Product Manufacturing Industry Is Still Important, Especially in Rural Areas

Once Oregon’s largest manufacturing industry, employment in the wood product manufacturing industry has gone through large, well-publicized losses since the early 1990s, with its employment dropping below computer and electronic manufacturing and food manufacturing. Despite the losses, wood product manufacturing is still a large industry in Oregon and is especially important to rural areas of the state.

Between 1990 and 2018, annual average employment in wood product manufacturing dropped 22,600, or 46 percent. Similar losses were experienced in all subsectors, with sawmills and wood preservation dropping 5,500 (46%); plywood and engineered wood products dropping 8,800 (49%); and all other wood product manufacturing, which includes millwork and prefabricated buildings, dropping 8,200 (51%).

Although the industry has been in decline over the long term, it trended upward for a short period during a national housing boom between 2003 and 2005. During that period, the industry increased from an annual average of 31,100 jobs to 32,700, an increase of 1,600, or 5.1 percent. Then the Great Recession hit the industry hard. The overall wood product manufacturing industry dropped 13,500 (41%) between 2005 and 2011. Since then, the industry has been slow to rebound, adding 4,300 jobs, or 22 percent, between 2011 and 2018. As of the writing of this article, estimates show that wood product manufacturing continues its slow rebound, reaching 23,800 jobs as of June 2019.
Even with the decline, wood product manufacturing is still a large industry in Oregon. In 2018, there were 23,500 people employed and roughly $1.2 billion in total payroll in wood product manufacturing. While statewide the industry makes up only 1.2 percent of total employment and 1.2 percent of total payroll, the concentration is much higher in some counties, especially rural ones. For instance, in Douglas County 8.3 percent of total employment and 10.7 percent of total payroll was in wood product manufacturing. Most of the counties with a high concentration of employment in wood product manufacturing are rural.

In counties where the percent of total payroll exceeds the percent of total employment, average wages are higher in wood product manufacturing than the overall average wage. This is the case in most of the rural counties; indicating that wood product manufacturing provides some of the higher paying jobs in rural counties.

Read the full article, written by Regional Economist Brian Rooney, here

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

July 2019 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

Benton County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 3.1 percent in July 2019. Other counties with some of the lowest unemployment rates in June included Washington (3.3%), Hood River (3.4%), and Multnomah (3.5%). Seven counties had unemployment rates at or below the national rate of 3.7 percent. Eight of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates below the statewide rate of 4.0 percent. 

Grant County registered the highest unemployment rate for the month at 7.3 percent. Other counties with some of the highest unemployment rates in July were Wallowa and Klamath (6.4%). July 2019 unemployment rates for almost all of Oregon’s counties were similar to what they were in July 2018. 
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all six of Oregon’s broad regions between July 2018 and July 2019. The largest job gains occurred in the Portland area (+1.5%). Southern Oregon (+1.1%), the Willamette Valley (0.9%), the Coast (+0.8%), Eastern Oregon (+0.8%), and Central Oregon (+0.4%) also saw employment growth over the past year.

Read the full press release here

Friday, August 16, 2019

Occupations Affected by Autonomous Vehicle Adoption in Oregon

In 2018, HB 4063 established the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) as the lead agency for automated vehicle (AV) policy in the state. HB 4063 also requires ODOT to convene and facilitate a Task Force on Autonomous Vehicles. For one part of the Task Force's work, we provided a labor market information summary related to occupations most likely to see workforce reductions associated with autonomous vehicle adoption over the next 20 to 30 years in Oregon.

A 2017 paper from economists in the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration identifies primary driving and other on-the-job driving-related (or “secondary”) occupations most likely to be affected by AV adoption in the U.S. Primary driving occupations include light and heavy-duty drivers, whose primary responsibilities include driving cars, vans, small trucks or heavy-duty commercial vehicles on the road. Secondary occupations include those where driving is not the primary responsibility, but often required, and some jobs could be eliminated by AVs.

Estimates from the Oregon Employment Department’s long-term occupational projections show nearly 95,000 jobs statewide in AV-affected occupations in 2017. That accounts for 5 percent of all employment, with 56,000 jobs across the eight primary driving occupations, and 39,000 jobs in the 14 secondary AV-affected occupations. Oregon’s primary driving occupations and secondary AV-affected occupations will still account for 5 percent of total employment with 104,000 jobs in 2027.

A 2018 report prepared by Groshen, Helper, MacDuffe, and Carson for Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) outlines a framework for determining the shares of jobs in primary driving and secondary AV-affected occupations under four different autonomous vehicle adoption scenarios. We paired shares of affected jobs different combinations of the faster (fleet use and quicker adoption) and slower (personal AV ownership and longer time to adopt) household and commercial AV adoption scenarios with Oregon data to estimate AV-related impacts statewide between 2027 and the 2040s. Over this period, we estimate between 41,500 and 47,200 jobs in primary driving and secondary occupations will be affected by mainstream AV adoption. 

There are other considerations beyond jobs lost in primary driving and secondary affected occupations. The mainstream adoption of autonomous vehicles will also create new jobs and entirely new occupations in transportation, in supplier and support activities related to AVs, and in other areas of the economy. Future research efforts can more fully capture workforce effects by including an analysis of new and emerging occupations related to autonomous vehicles.

In addition, we currently only have the capacity to discuss net employment changes beyond 2027. Yet net employment growth accounts for approximately one-tenth of total job openings. We expect autonomous vehicles to disrupt the pattern of replacement job openings, which account for the bulk of total openings. We currently lack a framework to quantify that change.

Read the full report, written by Senior Economic Analyst Gail Kiles Krumenauer, here. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Matches Record Low of 4.0 Percent in July

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in July, the same as the revised June rate of 4.0 percent. This was Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate in the current series dating back to 1976. It tied the 4.0 percent unemployment rate reached in the state in May, June, and July 2018. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in both June and July 2019.

In July, Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment added 2,400 jobs, following an over-the-month loss of 1,000 jobs, as revised, in June. Monthly gains for July were strongest in professional and business services (+1,300 jobs); health care and social assistance (+1,100); and construction (+800). Two industries cut more than 1,000 jobs in July: leisure and hospitality (-1,100 jobs) and government (-1,300).

Newly revised payroll employment figures show that there was minimal growth of only 2,000 jobs between December 2018 and March 2019, which was much weaker growth in the first quarter of 2019 than was originally estimated. Oregon’s total nonfarm employment for March is now pegged at 1,931,900 jobs.

Looking at longer-term trends, the new numbers show Oregon’s economy growing moderately for quite some time. Oregon’s over-the-year job growth has averaged 1.6 percent during the past 16 months.

The full press release is available here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Oregon Employment Forecast: Growth Ongoing, But Slowing

The U.S. economic expansion turned 10 years old this summer, making it the longest expansion in recorded history. Oregon’s expansion also continues, although our job growth is no longer handily outpacing the nation as had been the case for most of the past six years. Not to worry, as growth remains strong enough to keep up with population gains and hold the unemployment rate down at record lows.

Early this year, the word ‘recession’ began creeping back into forecasters’ lexicon when they discussed the U.S. economic outlook. Soft data in the form of a December stock market correction and weakness in retail sales, housing, and manufacturing, combined with the government shutdown and policy concerns, had raised fears that the economy was on the cusp of another recession. But most indicators revived in the spring, consumer spending remains strong, and incomes are rising. The economy is back on firmer ground and talk of an imminent recession has somewhat subsided.That said, the outlook calls for slowing growth this year and next, both nationally and locally. In Oregon, forecasters from the Office of Economic Analysis (OEA) expect the state will add 39,800 jobs (+2.1%) this year before slowing further in 2020 (32,100 jobs; 1.6%).

Growth will be constrained in part by our tight labor market. Unemployment has been near record lows for nearly three years, and the share of prime working-age Oregonians with a job is back to where it was right before the Great Recession. In other words, most workers who lost their jobs during the recession are now employed, and many who had been sitting on the sidelines have been pulled back into the labor force. So employers must rely even more than usual on their other source of potential employees: people moving into the state. However, migration slowed in 2018 and will likely remain below peak levels (2016-2017) for the foreseeable future, thus limiting job growth.

Find more details in Regional Economist Amy Vander Vliet's full article here.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Occupations with the Largest Share of Older Workers

According to the 2013-2017 five-year estimates (the most current available), about 22 percent of all employed workers in Oregon’s labor force were at least 55 years old. These workers may have an eye on retirement in the near future.

Lawyers, managers, and doctors may be among the occupations where workers have a greater likelihood of nearing retirement. They fall in the top three broad occupational groups with the largest shares of jobs held by workers at least 55 years old. Legal occupations claimed the largest portion (29%), followed by jobs in business, science, or arts management (27%), and healthcare practitioners (26%).
The legal occupations mostly consist of lawyers and legal assistants. Both lawyers and judges were among the occupations in this group with higher shares of workers at least 55 years old. Among the many occupations in management related to business, science, or the arts, those with the largest shares of jobs with workers ages 55 or older included farm and ranch managers, chief executives, and property and real estate managers. Among healthcare practitioners, more than one-third of registered nurses and related nurses were at least 55, as well as the group of health diagnosing and treating practitioners that included acupuncturists and naturopaths.

This scan of professions in groups with the largest shares of workers ages 55 and older yields a list of 17 occupations. These occupations typically require education beyond high school; all but three require at least a bachelor’s degree to meet the minimum qualifications for jobs.
From 2017 to 2027, statewide projections show a net gain of 10,200 jobs in these occupations. An additional 47,100 openings will require newly trained workers to replace those who leave the labor force (largely due to retirement) or make a major occupational change. Among this set of occupations, those with the most total openings in Oregon include registered nurses, farming and ranching managers, clergy, and lawyers. Meanwhile, the fastest-growing occupations in this group are health-centered, including nurse practitioners, health diagnosing and treating practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and midwives.

Read senior analyst Gail Krumenauer's full article here.