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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Oregon Adds 4,600 Jobs in October

In October, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment grew by 4,600 jobs, following a revised gain of 4,700 jobs in September. Monthly gains in October were widespread, with nine of the top 13 industries adding jobs, led by professional and business services (+1,500 jobs); wholesale trade (+1,000 jobs); and government (+1,000 jobs). Only two major industries cut jobs substantially in October: private educational services (-800 jobs) and financial activities (-900 jobs).

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in October, the same as in August and September. These were Oregon’s lowest unemployment rates since comparable records began in 1976. The U.S. unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent in both September and October.

Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment increased by 38,100 jobs, or 2.0 percent, since October 2017. In that time, construction remained the fastest growing industry, with a gain of 8,200 jobs, or 8.2 percent. Health care and social assistance added 6,200 jobs, or 2.6 percent. Professional and business services also grew rapidly, adding 5,400 jobs, or 2.2 percent. However, three of Oregon’s major industries slowed recently, with gains close to one percent since October 2017: financial activities (+1,000 jobs, or 1.0%); leisure and hospitality (+1,700 jobs, or 0.8%); and retail trade (+1,200 jobs, or 0.6%). And two industries declined over the year: information (-100 jobs, or -0.3%) and private educational services (-800 jobs, or -2.2%). 


Over the past two years, retail trade has seen multiple store closures and the bankruptcies of several major national retailers. These closures and other factors contributed to a moderation in overall retail employment growth. Since October 2016, Oregon’s retail employment grew at an annual rate of only 1.0%, which was about half the growth rate of Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment. Somewhat counterbalancing retail’s slowing was moderate growth in wholesale trade (up 2.8% in the past 12 months) and in transportation, warehousing, and utilities, which grew consistently close to a three-percent annual rate over the past six years.

Full press release is available here

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Employment among Oregon’s Veterans

From all of us here at the Oregon Employment Department, we’d like to say Thank You and Happy Veterans Day to all of those who have served and continue to serve! For Veterans Day, we're treating you with a blog post on employment among Oregon's veterans.

In 2017, the unemployment rate for veterans in Oregon was 4.3 percent, according to the Current Population Survey. This was the lowest unemployment rate for veterans since 2007, when the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent. Overall, Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in 2017. Across the U.S., veterans had a lower unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.

About 305,000 veterans lived in Oregon in 2017. Half of veterans (153,000) were not in the labor force. This figure could be related to the age of veterans. According to the American Community Survey, more than half of Oregon’s veterans were age 65 years or older and served in the military at least four decades ago: Vietnam War (110,668 veterans), Korean War (23,024), and World War II (9,491). Gulf-War I and II veterans accounted for 90,412.

Around 145,000 of the 152,000 veterans in the labor force were employed, with 123,000 being employed full time and 22,000 part time. About 6,000 veterans were unemployed, which accounted for 7.2 percent of the unemployed population (83,000) in the state. Over the last two decades, unemployed veterans made up between 6.9 percent and 14.6 percent of the overall unemployed population in the state. 
Veterans are more likely to have a disability, but less likely to be in poverty than the general population. About 32.8 percent of Oregon’s veterans reported having a service-connected disability, compared with 15.1 percent of the total civilian population. About 8.1 percent of veterans were in poverty compared with about 12.8 percent of the total civilian population. 

Read the full article written by Economist Felicia Bechtoldt

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Halloween Fun Facts

Happy Halloween! We're treating you with some fun facts related to Halloween festivities.

725,223
The 2017 population of Oregonians under age 15 potentially in search of candy asking "trick or treat?"

1,603,635
The number of households statewide (2017) that children might pass by and/or visit while trick-or-treating

51
The number of confectionary and nut stores in Oregon that sold candy and other confectionary products in 2017

79
The number of sugar and confectionery product manufacturing establishments in Oregon in 2017

395
The number of people employed by manufacturing establishments in Oregon that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2017

$86.79
Average Halloween spending per buyer in 2018, according to the National Retail Federation's annual survey

318
Oregon's total number of gift and novelty stores in 2017, which includes seasonal Halloween costume stores 

More fun facts about Halloween are available at the Census Bureau’s Facts for Feature and Statistics in Schools.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Most Oregon Employers Have Fewer than 20 Employees

Nine out of 10 private-sector firms in Oregon had fewer than 20 employees in March 2018. Six out of 10 employed fewer than five.

Despite their quantity, smaller firms collectively account for a much smaller share of overall employment than their larger counterparts. For example, the 59.4 percent of firms with one to four employees represented 7.3 percent of covered employment in March 2018 and 6.2 percent of wages in the first quarter of 2018. On the other hand, the 0.3 percent of firms with at least 500 employees accounted for 27.4 percent of private-sector jobs and 35.4 percent of wages.
These distributions tend to remain stable from one year to the next, even as the overall number of firms, employees, and wages expands or contracts. This doesn’t mean that smaller firms are underperforming when it comes to job creation, or that larger firms are experiencing a bonanza. Size of firm data does not provide us with information about the dynamics of job growth. Instead, it offers a snapshot that can help us understand the roles of small and large firms in Oregon’s economy at a specific point in time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

September 2018 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

Benton and Hood River counties had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 3.0 percent in September 2018. Other counties with some of the lowest unemployment rates in September included Washington (3.2%), Wheeler (3.2%), and Multnomah (3.3%). Ten of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide unemployment rate of 3.8 percent and eight were at or below the national rate of 3.7 percent.

Eastern and Southern Oregon had higher unemployment rates in September 2018, which were still close to their record low unemployment rates since 1990. In Oregon, 18 counties had record low unemployment rates in September.

Grant County registered the highest unemployment rate for the month at 6.3 percent, which was close to Grant’s lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1990. Crook County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 1.0 percentage point, more than any other county.
More information is available at Labor Force and Unemployment by Area.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Remained at a Record Low of 3.8 Percent in September

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in September, the same as in August. These were Oregon’s lowest unemployment rates since comparable records began in 1976. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 3.9 percent in August to 3.7 percent in September.

Oregon’s labor market was unusually tight in September, as indicated not only by the low unemployment rate, but also by the low number of Oregonians who are considered “short-term unemployed.” In September, 80,000 Oregonians were unemployed. Of those, 16,000 had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more (“long-term unemployed”), and 64,000 had been unemployed for less than 27 weeks (“short-term unemployed”). The number of short-term unemployed was quite low historically and was well below levels seen at the end of the prior expansion in 2006 and 2007, when an average of 86,000 people were categorized as short-term unemployed.

In September, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment grew by a modest 300 jobs, following a revised gain of 2,400 jobs in August. Monthly gains in September were concentrated in leisure and hospitality (+900 jobs) and professional and business services (+800 jobs). These gains were offset by losses in retail trade (-1,300 jobs) and wholesale trade (-800 jobs).

Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment increased by 40,200 jobs, or 2.1 percent, since September 2017. This growth rate is very close to the 2.2 percent annual growth rate the state has experienced over the prior 21 months, cooling off from the 3.0 percent average annual growth rate seen during the prior three years dating back to 2013.


Full press release is available here.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Worker Access to Paid Leave Benefits

In the United States, 74 percent of workers have access to paid sick leave through their employers. About the same share has access to paid vacation (75%) and paid holidays (77%). This access varies between the public and private sectors. In private industry, 71 percent of workers have access to paid sick leave and more than three-quarters of workers have access to paid vacation and paid holidays. Among state and local government employees, access to paid sick leave (91%) far outweighs access to paid vacation and holidays (61% and 68%, respectively).

These figures come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics National Compensation Survey, which includes very little detail at the sub-national level. Oregon is grouped with the Pacific West region, which includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington. Access to paid sick leave benefits is a bit more widespread in this area of the country compared with the national average.

Almost nine out of 10 workers in the Pacific West region have access to paid sick leave. Access to paid holidays and to paid vacation in the Pacific West matches the national average. Access to all paid leave benefits is more prevalent than the national average in the regional public sector, while the region’s private-sector workforce is more likely than the national average to have access to paid sick leave (86%) and very similar to the nation in terms of access to paid vacation and paid holidays.

Full-time workers – those working 35 hours per week or more at their primary job – are far more likely to have access to paid leave benefits than part-time workers. Eighty-five percent of full-time workers have access to paid sick leave, and even more have paid vacation and holidays. Among part-time workers, 40 percent have access to paid sick leave, 38 percent have paid vacation, and 43 percent have paid holidays.

Union-represented workers are more likely to have access to sick leave and slightly more likely to have paid holidays, but union representation doesn’t raise the access to paid vacation. Nine out of 10 union-represented workers had access to sick leave in March 2018, compared with 71 percent of non-union workers. Access to paid holidays reached 81 percent of union workers and 76 percent of non-union workers. The same share had access to paid vacation, at 75 percent in both union and non-union operations.

The workers with the lowest wages also have the least access to paid leave benefits through their employers. Access to paid sick leave has a direct positive relationship with earnings, with each step up in earnings quartile matched by improved access to paid sick leave. In contrast, for paid vacation and paid holidays, this relationship only holds for the shift between the lowest paid and the next quartile, with the highest half of earners having about as much access to paid vacation and paid holidays as the second 25 percent. 
For more information, read the full article written by Economist Jessica Nelson.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Who’s Driving Oregon’s Wage Growth?

By Damon Runberg

Wages in Oregon have been on the rise over the past three years. From fourth quarter 2014 to fourth quarter 2017, the quarterly average wage (smoothed and adjusted for inflation) rose by around 6.7 percent (+$800 per quarter). This is seemingly good news, right? This means that during that three-year period the average worker had more disposable income when accounting for the increased cost of goods and services.

At a recent presentation where I shared this good news about rising wages I was approached by a member of the audience; let’s call her Sue. Sue said, “I don’t know who is making that sort of growth in their wages, but it isn’t me and it is not anyone I know.” When dealing with millions of workers clearly Sue’s wage growth (or lack thereof) has little effect on the average wage. However, she made an important point. The average wage is not an individual story, but a rough aggregation of all payroll divided by the number of workers. It does not tell us who is seeing higher wages, only that payroll is up relative to the number of workers. This spurred me to ask if we can identify who is driving Oregon’s wage growth.

The Problem with the Average

Sue pointed out an important issue with averages as they can be notoriously misleading. She told me she had worked continually with the same employer the past three years, but she had seen no substantive wage growth. How common is Sue’s story among Oregon workers?

To answer this question I used wage records of Oregon workers between 2014 and 2017. These are employment and wage records by firm for all workers covered by unemployment insurance.

Who Is Contributing to Oregon’s Wage Gains?

The results of the analysis were quite unexpected. The expectation was that incumbent workers, like Sue, were not experiencing particularly notable wage growth. That assumption was wrong.

The real median hourly wage for those who changed their employer one or more times (the job hoppers) between 2014 and 2017 rose by 13.3 percent, very rapid growth. That represented a growth in median hourly wage of $2.92. As expected the incumbent workers posted a slower pace of wage growth, however it was only marginally slower growth than the job hoppers. During the three-year period incumbent workers, those who stayed continually employed with the same firm, saw real median hourly pay rise by 11.7 percent with nearly an identical growth in the median hourly rate (+$2.87 an hour).
Read the full article written by Damon Runberg, regional economist for Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Klamath, and Lake counties. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

10-Year Occupational Projections for STEM Jobs

Twenty-two percent of jobs in Oregon fall into the STEM category (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). You can view the relationship between employment and wages of STEM occupations in the chart-based STEM Employment and Wage Tool.

Most STEM jobs require education and training to learn the skills and knowledge for the job. The typical entry-level education for almost three-quarters (71.3%) of STEM job openings is postsecondary training or higher. Nearly half (47.3%) of STEM job openings require a bachelor’s degree.

Looking at all projected job openings in Oregon, 76 percent of openings that require a doctoral or professional degree are STEM jobs. Forty-nine percent of openings that require a bachelor’s degree and 60 percent that require an associate’s degree are STEM jobs.

More than 400,000 job openings due to both growth in the occupation and the need to replace workers who leave the occupation (for retirement, or move to another type of work, for example) are expected from 2017 to 2027. The growth rate for STEM jobs during this period is 15 percent, which is higher than the growth rate for all occupations of 12 percent. Only 19 out of 286 STEM occupations are expected to decline during the decade.

The Oregon Employment Department has wage data available for 257 of the 286 STEM occupations analyzed in this blog post. Of these 257 STEM occupations, 235 occupations have a higher median wage than Oregon’s median wage for all occupations ($19.09 per hour) in 2018. 
For more information on STEM occupations, read the full article written by Economist Anna Johnson.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Twenty-Three Counties At Record Low Unemployment Rates in August

Benton County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 2.8 percent in August 2018. Other counties with some of the lowest unemployment rates in August included Hood River (3.0%), Washington (3.1%), and Wheeler (3.1%). Eastern and Southern Oregon had higher unemployment rates in August 2018, which were still close to their record low unemployment rates since 1990. In Oregon, twenty-three counties had record low unemployment rates in August.

Grant County registered the highest unemployment rate for the month at 6.2 percent, which was Grant’s lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1990.
Eleven of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates below the statewide unemployment rate of 3.8 percent and thirteen were at or below the national rate of 3.9 percent.

Crook and Sherman counties saw their unemployment rates improve over the year by 1.0 percentage point, more than any other county. Other counties that saw their unemployment rate decrease were Gilliam (-0.9%), Jefferson (-0.9%), and Coos (-0.8%). No county saw their unemployment rate increase in August.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all six of Oregon’s broad regions between August 2017 and August 2018. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+3.1%). Southern Oregon (+2.9%), the Willamette Valley (+2.6%), the Portland area (+1.7%), the Oregon Coast (+1.7%), and Eastern Oregon (0.5%) also added jobs.

Press releases for all Oregon counties are available at www.qualityinfo.org/press-release.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Oregon Construction Employment at Record Highs

Oregon’s construction industry reached a record high number of jobs in recent months, employing nearly 110,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The industry added jobs steadily and rapidly in recent years, following a prolonged slump in 2009 through 2012, when employment remained near 70,000 for several years after the last recession.

Looking back 30 years, clearly the industry has been highly cyclical – experiencing booms and busts over the course of multi-year expansions that were followed by briefer, but potentially precipitous contractions. In the late 1990s the industry hovered close to 80,000 jobs for several years, dropped some jobs in a mild recession and then resumed its climb. Just before the 2008 recession, Oregon’s construction industry was slightly below today’s employment total, at about 104,000 jobs.

During the past several decades, at least since the late 1980s, Oregon’s economy and population have been on a generally expansionary trend. Population typically grew about 1 percent per year, primarily due to net in-migration – more people moving into Oregon compared with the number moving out.

Because the population has been steadily expanding, it can be helpful to look at the construction industry’s total jobs relative to overall employment. This tells us the percent of total nonfarm jobs employed by the industry. Over the past 30 years, construction has employed between 4 percent and 6 percent of Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment. The lowest share during this period occurred in 1992, when 4 percent were employed in construction. Not far behind was the period from 2010 through 2012 when about 4.2 percent of payroll jobs were found in construction.

The housing-price boom leading up to the last recession coincided with the biggest share of construction jobs, as construction employed 6 percent of all nonfarm payroll jobs during much of 2006 and 2007. Currently, Oregon’s construction industry isn’t quite as concentrated as that period, with 5.7 percent of nonfarm jobs in the industry as of July of this year.

Leading up to the past two national recessions, Oregon’s construction employment has either trended downward, as was the case in 1997 through 2000, or abruptly tanked, as occurred just prior to, and certainly during, the recession of 2008 and 2009. The good news is that construction employment in Oregon has grown quite rapidly over the past few years and hasn’t shown any sign of downturn yet.
Learn more about employment in Oregon's construction industry, read the full article written by the Current Employment Statistics Coordinator David Cooke. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Lowest on Record: Oregon Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.8 Percent in August

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in August, the lowest rate since comparable records began in 1976. Oregon’s July unemployment rate was 3.9 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in both July and August.

In August, the number of unemployed people dropped to 80,500, which is down from 88,000 in August 2017. The low number of unemployed reflects a very tight job market. Many people just entering the labor force are getting snapped up by employers. In August, there were only about 20,000 new entrants to the labor force who were unemployed; this was only one-third the number of such “unemployed entrants” seen in the early 2010s. This means that there are far fewer Oregonians entering the workforce who can’t find a job. Meanwhile in August, of the unemployed Oregonians, 28,000 had lost their job—a historically low level, given that in 2009 there were five times the number of unemployed due to job loss.

In August, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment grew by a modest 900 jobs, following a revised gain of 3,400 jobs in July. Monthly gains in August were concentrated in construction, which added 800 jobs, wholesale trade (+800 jobs), and retail trade (+700 jobs). These gains were offset by losses in leisure and hospitality (-1,100 jobs) and government (-600 jobs).


You can find more information about Oregon's current employment situation in the full press release.