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

Monday, August 7, 2017

Don’t Sell Yourself Short, or the Value of a Bachelor’s Degree

According to data from the Pew Research Center, nearly every American feels that college is important. Almost all parents (94%) expect their children to attend college, roughly three quarters (73%) of adults feel that college is “…essential to get ahead in life,” and Americans across the board believe they would have a larger salary with a college degree or a smaller salary without one. Folks are divided, however, on the “mission” of college. Close to 40 percent of Americans feel the main goal of a college education is personal growth while nearly half (47%) feel the main goal is preparation for the labor force. Some people might argue that both missions are essentially the same. Regardless of the purpose of college, from a labor market perspective the value of a bachelor’s degree is revealed in the data.

In 2014, the Hamilton Project used data from the American Community Survey to calculate expected annual and career earnings for 80 college majors. Their interactive graphs allow comparison between majors as well as associate’s degree; some college, no degree; high school diploma; and no diploma. Career earnings were $1.39 million (in 2014 dollars) for bachelor’s degree holders in the 50th percentile, $0.74 million for high school graduates, and $0.55 million for non-graduates.

In 2015, according to the American Community Survey, median annual earnings in the U.S. for workers with less than a high school education were $20,361 and for workers with a high school education they were $28,043. At the same time, median annual earnings for workers with a bachelor’s degree were $50,595. In Oregon in 2015, median annual earnings for workers with less than a high school education were $20,237, and for high school they were $26,514. Workers with a bachelor’s degree had median annual earnings of $43,452.

Read the full article "Don’t Sell Yourself Short, or the Value of a Bachelor’s Degree" written by Regional Economist Chris Rich.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Summer Hiring of Teens in Oregon

Summer break from school has traditionally meant a summer job. A generation ago, more than half of all teenagers had a job or were looking for one. The summer work scene has changed a lot since then. Now only one out of three teenagers has a job or is looking for one. Many teens are purposely skipping the dough and early work experience in order to focus on formal education and school activities.

A few years ago, teens who wanted to work faced stiff competition for jobs by adults who were out of work. Adults tend to have more experience, flexible schedules, and fewer restrictions on their activities and the hours they can work. It’s natural for many employers to prefer hiring adults when they are available, rather than hiring teens. However, Oregon’s record-low unemployment means there are fewer adults looking for jobs, so employers have turned to hiring teens again.
In summer 2016, more than 33,000 teens age 14 to 18 found jobs at an employer they hadn’t worked for within the last year. That was far more than the number of teens finding work during the summers following the Great Recession, so it’s much easier for teens to find jobs now than it was a few years ago. Still, far fewer teens were hired last summer than in 2006 when 45,000 teens were hired, or the chart-topping summer of 1996 when nearly 63,000 teens found new jobs.

Learn more about teens in the workforce in "Summer Hiring of Teens in Oregon" written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.

Monday, July 31, 2017

An Update on Oregon’s Brewing Industry

There were around 220 brewing establishments in Oregon in 2016. A brewing establishment is defined as any location with onsite brewing, including large manufacturing breweries, brew pubs, and nano breweries. Those establishments with at least one covered employee and brewing on site were included in this analysis. As a result home brewers and pubs without onsite brewing were not included.

The industry saw a net gain of 12 brewing establishments in 2016, a growth rate around 6 percent. Although the industry continues to add breweries at a fast pace, the rate of growth is slower compared with previous years. For instance, 2015 saw a gain of 18 breweries (~10% growth). This slowdown is twofold. First, there were fewer new breweries established in 2016. Second, we are beginning to see more brewery closures. Fourteen brewing establishments fell out of the state payroll system in 2016, compared with only five closures in 2015.

The brewing industry is seasonal with the summer employment (3rd quarter) roughly 10 percent higher than the annual average. This seasonality is heavily influenced by brewpubs, which tend to see higher employment during the summer season, similar to other restaurants and drinking places. Brewpubs are also largely responsible for pulling down the average annual pay in the brewing industry due to a high number of traditional restaurant service jobs. The average annual wage in the brewing industry ($30,250) was significantly higher than the food service industry ($18,500), but noticeably lower than the statewide average annual wage of $49,500.

Read the full article "An Update on Oregon's Brewing Industry" written by Regional Economist Damon Runberg.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mom of Adult with Down Syndrome: It's Harder to a Get a Job at Businesses That Struggle Financially

On July 26, the United States celebrates the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, education, transportation, state and local government services, public accommodations, telecommunications and commercial facilities.

We interviewed Erik from Corvallis, Oregon who shared with us the challenges of finding a job. He has Down syndrome and feels fortunate to work at Oregon State University’s McNary Dining Hall for the last four years. He is a dishwasher and loves his job. It took him nine to 10 months to become employed. Prior to being employed at McNary Dining, he sent dozens of resumes without a response. 

Erik’s mother, Jennifer, is a former special education teacher who worked with students with disabilities in the Young Adult Skills program. She said that the best way to help people with disabilities find a job is to approach successful well-established businesses that are willing to give back to their community. “It is harder to get a job at businesses that are struggling financially.”

When looking for jobs, she highlighted that it’s important to look at what the person likes to do, what skills they are good at, and what jobs can fit them. Erik likes water sprinklers and he developed the skills needed for dishwashing with his previous volunteer and work experience. Jennifer said that people with disabilities are consistent workers once they know the job and employers don’t have to worry about them coming late to work. When we asked about barriers to employment of people with disabilities, Jennifer said that lack of interpersonal, behavioral, and hygiene skills are a barrier to many people with disabilities.

Learn more about employment barriers of people with disabilities in "Ready, Willing, and Able" written by economists Felicia Bechtoldt and Erik Knoder.

Fifteen Counties Had Historic Low Unemployment Rates in June

Fifteen counties were at or tied with their historic low unemployment rates. Benton and Washington counties had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June at 3.1 percent. Grant County (6.2%) registered the highest rate for the month.

Eight of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates below the statewide rate of 3.7 percent and 21 counties were at or below the national rate of 4.4 percent. Gilliam County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 2.4 percentage points, more than any other county.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all of Oregon’s six broad regions between June 2016 and June 2017. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+3.0%). Southern Oregon (+2.1%), the Willamette Valley (+1.8%), Eastern Oregon (+1.5%), Portland (+1.2%), and the Oregon Coast (+1.0%) also saw growth. 
See the full labor force and unemployment by area press release in 36 counties and metropolitan areas in Oregon.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Labor Shortage in Oregon's Construction Industry

In the past two years, the construction industry added around 16,000 jobs – a whopping 20 percent increase – making it Oregon’s fastest growing industry sector. The construction industry accounts for around 5 percent of all nonfarm jobs in Oregon, however the industry accounted for greater than 17 percent of all nonfarm jobs added in Oregon over the past two years. A combination of rapid job growth and skilled workers leaving the industry during the recession led to a labor shortage in the building trades.

Fast growing communities, such as Portland, Bend, Salem, and Eugene, have all experienced difficulty finding construction workers to keep pace with demand. Construction employers identified 88 percent of their job vacancies as difficult to fill, the highest rate of all major industry sectors in Oregon. The occupation in Oregon with the most difficult-to-fill vacancies was construction laborers with over 1,500 vacancies identified as “difficult to fill” in 2016.

In the midst of this construction labor shortage and continued hiring demand, many are wondering where current construction workers are coming from. Are these in-migrants into the state? Are they leaving other industries lured by relatively high wages and consistent work?

Find the responses to the questions above in "New Entrants into Oregon’s Construction Industry Helping to Ease the Labor Shortage" written by Regional Economist Damon Runberg.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Oregon Adds 8,500 Jobs in June

In June, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment grew by 8,500 jobs, following a gain of 2,600 in May. The June increase was the largest gain since February 2016 when 9,600 jobs were added. Gains were widespread among the major industries, with 11 of the 14 industries adding jobs. Leisure and hospitality added the most, increasing by 2,100 jobs. In addition, strong hiring occurred in construction (+1,600 jobs) and manufacturing (+1,400). Financial activities was the only major industry to cut substantially, as it shed 800 jobs.

Over the past 12 months, Oregon’s payroll employment rose 47,300, or 2.6 percent. This rapid pace was an acceleration from earlier in the year when over-the-year growth was hovering around 2.0 percent.

Oregon’s unemployment rate was little changed at 3.7 percent in June. 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 June 2016 and well below the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.4 percent in June 2017.

Read the Oregon Employment Department's full press release.

Friday, July 14, 2017

When the Jobs Get Weird, Oregonians Get the Jobs

The Oregon Employment Department categorizes over 800 specific occupations. However, for really unusual jobs there is no defined category or available statistics. It's worthwhile to study the jobs that fall outside of what we consider normal. After all, everyone is different and for some folks that perfect job may mean looking outside the jobs that exist today – and creating something truly original.

At the No Regrets Farm in Corvallis, Lainey Morse organizes yoga classes with her friend and yoga instructor, Heather Davis. Yoga is well known for helping people feel better both physically and mentally. Less well known, studies show that owning a pet lowers blood pressure and improves the mood of their owners. Combining the therapeutic value of yoga with the medical benefits of petting goats has been a big success. The goat yoga class at No Regrets Farm has thousands of people on the waiting list.

The sloth is a small, slow moving, tree dwelling mammal native to the rainforests of Central and South America. These adorable creatures are well known for their calm demeanor and soft fur. In the Oregon town of Rainier, the Sloth Center sustains the largest population of long-term, actively reproducing captive adult sloths in North America. The center is dedicated to providing a safe habitat for sloths.

The staff at the Sloth Center don’t just care for these rare and unusual creatures. They also provide opportunities for people to interact with the sloths. At the Sloth Center, the staff will teach you about sloths while letting you pet and feed the animals. Sloths sleep during the day. If you want to really spend some quality time with the sloths, the staff at the center will let you sleep in the sanctuary with the sloths. While it’s not a hotel, you’ll certainly never find another place to sleep where the employees instruct you about how to properly behave as sloths hang from artificial branches over your head.

Read the full article "When the Jobs Get Weird, Oregonians Get the Jobs" written by Workforce Analyst Christian Kaylor

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Job Stability and Instability in Oregon

In a typical quarter, about 30 percent of Oregon’s workers are in jobs that are considered not stable – they either recently began or will soon end. From the fourth quarter of 2015 through the third quarter of 2016 (the most recent data), an average of 525,035 people per quarter had jobs that were either new or ending (or both!) during the quarter they were counted. Adding to the mix is that job stability varies with the industry and time of year. A close look at the data shows that working Oregonians switch employers, industries, and careers with surprising frequency.

The natural resources and mining industry had the smallest share of stable jobs. This sector includes such seasonal industries as farming, fishing, and logging. Fewer than half of the jobs in the industry are stable. A job is counted as stable during a quarter if the employee also worked at least part of the previous and following quarters for the same employer. If this is the case, then the assumption is made that the employee worked all the reference quarter at the same job.

Stable jobs pay higher wages. In the summer quarter of 2016, stable jobs paid a median wage of $20 per hour; not stable jobs paid a median of $12.89 per hour. The median wage is the wage of the middle, or typical, worker. The smallest percent difference in wages between stable and not stable jobs was within the natural resources and mining industry (16.8%). This industry also had the smallest (37.3%) percentage of stable jobs that quarter. The largest percent difference in hourly wages between stable and not stable jobs was in professional and business services (87.4%).

Learn more about job stability and instability in "Double, Double Toil and... Job Change? Job Stability and Instability in Oregon" written by Regional Economist Erik Knoder and Special Projects Analyst Barbara Peniston.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Wave of Retirements in Oregon

For quite some time, the workforce within the State of Oregon has seen an upward trend in the age of workers. This could be attributed to many factors, but the number of baby boomers at or nearing retirement age is the main underlying reason for this demographic shift.

For the last 25 years, the share of the labor force aged 45 and older has increased, with the greatest relative increases occurring among the older age groups. Those within the labor force aged 45 to 54 years old have increased their share of the workforce by 3.2 percentage points since 1992, workers aged 55 to 64 have more than doubled their share of the workforce, and those aged 65 and over have nearly tripled their share. Workers 45 and over comprise 44.6 percent of the workforce today compared with 28.3 percent of the workforce in 1992.

Many workers pushed off retirement due to the Great Recession, which could very well be the reason we’re seeing more workers aged 65 and over remaining in the workforce. However, older workers will eventually retire and many employers will find themselves saying goodbye to more than just an employee.

Sectors that have the largest employment of workers 55 and over are educational and health services (both private and public) and professional and business services (private and public). In fact, one out of every four workers employed within the educational and health services industries is age 55 and over – arguably within 10 years of retirement. One out of every five workers employed within the professional and business services sector is age 55 and over.

Learn more about industries and occupations with a high concentration of older workers in "The Wave of Retirements and the Openings to be Filled" written by Workforce Analyst Kale Donnelly

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Monday, July 10, 2017

The Share of Minimum Wage Jobs Higher in Eastern Oregon

Roughly 5.5 percent of jobs (115,225 jobs) paid minimum wage or less in Oregon in the third quarter of 2016. There are some exemptions when workers earn less than the minimum wage. The share of minimum wage jobs in Oregon has not changed much during the last 16 years. Since 2001 Oregon’s minimum wage jobs have accounted for between 4 and 6 percent of total jobs. This share does vary by county, however.

Counties with a higher share of minimum wage jobs tended to be in rural areas. Eastern Oregon had a greater share of minimum wage jobs than other areas of the state. The highest shares of minimum wage jobs were found in Malheur (12.6%) and Harney (10.2%) counties. Other counties with a high percentage of minimum wage jobs included Grant (9.2%), Wheeler (9.2%), Baker (8.6%), and Wallowa (8.1%).
Six counties had a share of minimum wage jobs lower than the statewide share of 5.5 percent. These included Morrow (2.2%), Multnomah (3.9%), Hood River (4.2%), Washington (4.3%), Crook (4.8%), and Umatilla (5.4%) counties.

Read the full article "The Share of Minimum Wage Jobs Higher in Eastern Oregon" written by Economist Felicia Bechtoldt