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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

August 2017 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

Benton and Washington counties had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August at 3.5 percent. Grant County (6.4%) registered the highest rate for the month. Crook (6.1%), Josephine (5.9%), and Curry (5.9%) counties also had some of the highest unemployment rates in the state this month.

Nine of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 4.1 percent and 11 counties were below the national rate of 4.4 percent. Gilliam County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 2.0 percentage points, more than any other county. Other counties that saw a large improvement in their unemployment rates were Wallowa, Baker, and Jefferson, where the unemployment rates improved by 1.5, 1.4, and 1.4 percentage points, respectively, over the year.
See the full labor force and unemployment by area press release in 36 counties and metropolitan areas in Oregon.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Oregon’s Nonresident Workers

Oregon’s open beaches, rugged mountains, and grape-filled hillsides make it a popular destination for visitors. But there’s something else about Oregon that attracted nearly 111,000 people from out of state in 2014 – jobs. Roughly 7 percent of people who make their living in Oregon, make their home in some other state. Not surprising to anyone driving the bridges over the Columbia River during rush hour, four out of five of these nonresident workers come from Washington.

The 88,106 Washingtonians working in Oregon in 2014 accounted for almost 6 percent of all workers with jobs in Oregon. Among Oregon’s other neighbors, there were 7,776 Californians; 7,062 Idahoans; and 523 Nevadans working in Oregon.

The fact that people live in neighboring states and work in Oregon isn’t surprising. But what about workers living in Texas, New York, Florida, and other far away states? Their numbers more than quadrupled between 2004 and 2014, but they’re not likely crossing the Snake River on I-84 each morning to get to work. Nonresident workers may live in both states but maintain their primary residence outside Oregon, or work in Oregon on temporary assignment, or they may have moved during the year and their residency status wasn’t updated yet. Residency is assigned by the U.S. Census Bureau based on data from federal agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration, so basically where the worker files their taxes is considered home. 

One possible explanation for the growing number of nonresident workers is the rise in teleworking – regular employees working outside the conventional workplace and interacting with others via communication technologies. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people working from home in Oregon increased by 18,142 from 2007 to 2014. There’s a good chance that teleworkers are driving some of the increase in Oregon’s nonresident workers.

Read the full article written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks and Regional Economist for Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, and Tillamook counties, Erik Knoder

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Building Permits in Oregon

Oregon’s population continues to grow, led by migration to the state. Housing availability for both buyers and renters has become a concern in many local areas.

Oregon’s population added more than 600,000 residents between 2001 and 2016, averaging 1.1 percent growth per year during that time. The growth has not been evenly distributed across the state. Metropolitan areas in Oregon are growing more quickly than rural Oregon. Metro areas gained 561,000 residents between 2001 and 2016, averaging 1.1 percent growth per year, while rural areas gained 43,000 and averaged 0.4 percent growth per year.

Residential building permits in Oregon averaged around 17,600 per year between 2001 and 2016, according to a U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) database titled the State of the Cities Data Systems (SOCDS). The number of building permits statewide peaked at more than 30,000 in 2005, fell below 10,000 in 2009 through 2011, and has returned to more than 19,000 in 2016.

The Portland Metro area accounted for about 60 percent of statewide permits in the last few years. From 2010 through 2016, metro areas have seen residential permits grow to 5.3 permits per 1,000. Rural area permits have edged up, but they started their recovery later and have grown slower than in metro areas, reaching 1.9 permits per 1,000 in 2016.
Learn more about the types of building permits in the full article written by Will Summers and Jessica Nelson.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Oregon Payrolls Dropped 9,500 Jobs in August

In August, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 9,500 jobs, following a revised gain of 7,400 in July. This was the first seasonally adjusted decline in seven months. 
Oregon's unemployment rate rose to 4.1 percent in August from 3.8 percent in July. The rate remained near its all-time low of 3.6 percent, reached this May.

The August jobs report indicates that Oregon’s over-the-year job growth, while strong, has slowed. Between August 2016 and August 2017, payroll employment expanded by 44,600 jobs, or 2.4 percent. This is a reduction from the 3.1 percent job-growth rate seen through July.

The decline in August was concentrated in four of the 14 broad industry groups: leisure and hospitality (-3,600 jobs); government (-3,200); financial activities (-1,300); and wholesale trade (‑1,300). None of the major industries added more than 400 jobs.

The drop in leisure and hospitality came on the heels of unusually strong hiring in June and July. Similarly, the August government job loss offset the robust hiring in the spring and early summer.

“August’s job losses were an unusually sharp departure from months of very large job gains,” said Nick Beleiciks, Oregon’s state employment economist. “But looking past recent gains and losses, Oregon’s over-the-year job growth continues to be very good.” More details on this month's employment estimates and unemployment figures can be found in Nick's monthly interview, and in the Employment Department's full news release.

These preliminary estimates of jobs and other labor force data are produced in cooperation with the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, are based largely on a survey of businesses and a survey of households, and are subject to later revision.

Friday, September 8, 2017

A Closer Look At Oregon’s Median Household Income

Measuring household income isn’t easy. Oregon has only one true median household income, which is unknown, but there are multiple ways to estimate it. Looking at median income instead of average (mean) income is helpful because the measure is less affected by households with extremely high incomes. Income distributions are skewed because they are bound by zero on the low end and essentially unbounded at the high end. The median is a better measure of center in such cases.
Median income is the point where half the households earn more and half earn less. If you lined every household up from lowest income to highest income, the median would be the income of the household that’s smack in the center.

There are 1,533,430 households in Oregon with an average size of 2.5 people. That’s about a foot smaller than the U.S. average household size of 2.6 people.A household is all the people who occupy a housing unit, such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms, or a single room that is a separate living quarters. A household can consist of a single family, a person living alone, two or more families living together, or any other group of people who share living arrangements.

Income is the money received on a regular basis in the previous year or past 12 months by household members ages 15 years and over. This is before personal income taxes, social security, union dues, and Medicare deductions are removed. It does not include noncash benefits such as food stamps, health benefits, subsidized housing, or goods produced and consumed on the farm.
Oregon’s median household income has been very close to the U.S. over the past 30 years. There hasn’t been a statistical difference between Oregon and U.S. household incomes in most years. However, Oregon’s job growth has been stronger than the U.S. since 2013, and the average hourly real wage started rising in 2015. The better job market helped propel Oregon’s median household income to $59,888 in 2014-2015, higher than the U.S. median household income of $55,117.

Learn more about other measures of median income in the article written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Can You Handle the Heat? Oregon’s Firefighters Can

Those brave enough to take on the responsibility of going into the danger rather than running away from it have earned a specific title all their own – Firefighter. With more than 12,000 firefighters in Oregon, both volunteer and career, these men and women who serve their communities do so without question.

In order to become a firefighter candidate, one must undergo extensive physical and mental conditioning to train for the job’s stringent requirements. Candidates must pass exams that test spatial awareness, reading comprehension, mechanical reasoning, logic, observation, and memory. Applicants must also pass a physical fitness test – the Candidate Physical Ability Test. The events include a weighted-vest stair climb, 50 foot hose drag, weighted equipment carry, and a wall-breaching hammer swing to name a few – all to ensure a candidate is minimally fit to complete basic firefighter duties. According to the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training’s Fire Division, firefighters along the coast will receive more extensive training in maritime firefighting; those east of the Cascades typically have more of an emphasis on wildland firefighting; and those in larger urban areas will train more comprehensively in urban navigation and structural firefighting.

Just how often are firefighters responding to calls that require their attention? This varies greatly by county, and at first glance seems to coincide with county population. Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue in Washington County, the second most populated county in Oregon, reported the greatest number of “runs” in the state in 2016 – a term used for any time the fire engine’s tires hit the pavement. Worth noting, runs made specifically for a fire, or a fire-related incident, only comprise 5 percent of all runs on a statewide basis. The other 95 percent are contributed to a multitude of reasons, with the largest contributor of those runs being medical-related services.
Learn more about Oregon's firefighters in the article written by Workforce Analyst Kale Donnelly

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Oregon Population Forecasts

Oregon’s population is projected to grow from today’s level of just over 4 million to about 6.2 million in 2065. In absolute terms, the “prime working age” (those 25 to 64 years old) group has the largest population and will continue this trend into the future. The more interesting trend comes when looking at the “senior” age group (those 65 and older) and the “youth” age group (those younger than 25). Although the youth population is forecasted to remain larger than the senior population, by 2065 the total number of Oregonians 65 years old and older is expected to almost equal the total number younger than 25 years old.
From 2020 to 2040 the senior population in all workforce areas is forecasted to grow at a much faster rate than either of the other two age groups. Eastern Oregon is expected to have the slowest senior population growth at 23.2 percent, while the Portland-Metro area senior population is expected to grow the fastest at 58.4 percent from 2020 to 2040.

In most of the workforce areas, the youth population is expected to grow the slowest of the three age categories. The slowest expected youth population growth rate is shown in the Rogue Valley area (1.3%), while the fastest youth population growth is expected in Clackamas (24.5%). Clackamas and Eastern Oregon are the only workforce areas where the younger than 25 age category is expected to grow faster than the prime working age group.

Learn more about population forecasts for workforce areas, read the full article "Oregon Population Forecasts" written by Economist Anna Johnson

Monday, August 28, 2017

Most Oregonians Out of the Labor Force Do Not Want a Job

Despite low unemployment rates and rapid job growth, the U.S. labor market continues to be criticized due to the increase in the number of people out of the labor force. The number of people out of the labor force has grown around 22 percent from 2006 to 2017. However, most people out of the labor force do not want a job, and the share of individuals that do want a job is near a historical low. Oregon’s labor market has followed a similar trend and this share is now below the national estimates.

In May 2017, there were 1.2 million people in Oregon who were not in the labor force. Just 5.8 percent of them reported that they want a job. The number of people who weren’t in the labor force but still wanted a job increased in the years following the Great Recession. But the labor market in Oregon has fully recovered and the number is now below what it was before the recession.

The data comes from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly survey of households conducted by the Bureau of Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It provides a comprehensive labor force statistics, including data about persons not in the labor force.
Article written by Workforce Analyst Karla Castillo

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Oregon’s Employment Transition to Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries

One of the evolving changes in Oregon’s legal marijuana industry is the shift to retail dispensaries. As of January 1, 2017 sales are allowed at licensed recreational retailers. Currently, recreational dispensaries may sell cannabis to both recreational and medical customers, with only recreational customers subject to taxes. Now medical-only dispensaries are only allowed to sell cannabis to those with a medical marijuana card.

In an effort to track payroll employment at marijuana-related businesses, the Oregon Employment Department has created a database of known marijuana-related recreational and medical dispensaries. They use a variety of methods to make this determination including reviewing information provided by the employer, referencing industry registries like the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) license registry, and reading information publicly available online.

According to our most recent information, there were 217 recreational dispensary establishments in Oregon with 2,062 jobs that had an annual average pay of $23,706 in the 1st quarter of 2017. In that same quarter, we had 71 establishments included in the medical dispensary category with 289 jobs that paid an average annual wage of $21,282. Recreational dispensary total payroll in that quarter was $12,270,595. Medical dispensary total payroll was much less, at $1,538,148.


Learn more in the full article written by Regional Economist Guy Tauer

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

July 2017 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

Hood River and Washington counties had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in July at 3.3 percent. Grant County (6.0%) registered the highest rate for the month. This was the lowest unemployment rate for Grant County since comparable records began in 1990. Besides Grant County, another three counties were at or tied with their historic low unemployment rates ‒ Harney County (5.3%), Union County (4.6%), and Wheeler County (3.8%).

Nine of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 3.8 percent and 13 counties were at or below the national rate of 4.3 percent. Gilliam County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 2.3 percentage points, more than any other county. Other counties that saw a large improvement in their unemployment rates were Jefferson and Wallowa counties, where the unemployment rates improved by 1.8 percentage points over the year.
See the full labor force and unemployment by area press release in 36 counties and metropolitan areas in Oregon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

July’s Strong Job Growth in Oregon Eclipses the Unemployment Rate

In July, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment grew by 5,900 jobs, following a gain of 8,700 in June. Four of the major industries added more than 1,000 jobs. Leisure and hospitality added the most, increasing by 2,400 jobs. In addition, strong hiring occurred in construction (+1,200 jobs), health care and social assistance (+1,200), and retail trade (+1,200). Professional and business services was the only major industry to cut more than 1,000, as it shed 1,400 jobs.

Job growth was faster than it was at the beginning of the year. Over the past 12 months, Oregon’s payroll employment rose 56,200, or 3.1 percent, as was reflected in the quarterly revisions to the data. Earlier in the year, annual job growth had slowed to 2.0 percent, but by July was back above 3.0 percent for the first time since April 2016 when the growth rate was 3.2 percent. Several large industry sectors led the expansion in the 12 months ending with July 2017, including construction (+10,300 jobs, or 11.4%), leisure and hospitality (+9,900 jobs, or 5.0%), and health care and social assistance (+8,600 jobs, or 3.7%).

Oregon’s unemployment rate was little changed at 3.8 percent in July. The rate remained near its all-time low of 3.6 percent reached in May. Oregon’s rate was significantly below its year-ago rate of 5.1 percent in July 2016. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in July 2017.


Read the Oregon Employment Department's full press release.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Jobs

A solar eclipse. The cosmic ballet goes on. – Leonard Nimoy

The sign at the coffee stand next door says “We will be closed Monday Aug. 21st for the Solar Eclipse! See you Tuesday the 22nd.” Who could blame them? Work will be the furthest thing on many people’s minds when the earth, moon, and sun align for two minutes over Oregon skies. A total solar eclipse is considered by many to be a once-in-a-lifetime event that shouldn’t be missed. But there will be plenty of work to do.

From Lincoln City to Ontario, the solar eclipse will cast a shadow over one out of five jobs in Oregon. About 29,500 business establishments and 355,500 jobs are within the 60-mile path of totality. 
Jobs and businesses beyond the total darkness will also be affected by the eclipse. The state is planning for an influx of about one million visitors for the occasion. Oregonians who are trying to get to work that day may face traffic snarls of snowmageddon proportions. Fortunately, astronomers know well ahead of time when a solar eclipse will occur, which gives the rest of us time to prepare.

Learn more about how Oregon employers can prepare for the eclipse in the full article "Total Eclipse of the Jobs" written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks