Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Oregon Adds 11,600 Jobs in October

In October, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment rose by 11,600 jobs, following a revised loss of 1,100 jobs in September. The gain in October was the largest monthly increase since 14,100 jobs were added in February 2017.

Monthly gains were concentrated in professional and business services, which added 5,300 jobs, and in leisure and hospitality, which added 3,800. Both of these industries rebounded from job losses within the prior two months. Three other industries each added at least 1,000 jobs in October: other services (+1,400 jobs); manufacturing (+1,000); and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+1,000). Retail trade cut 900 jobs, posting the biggest monthly job decline.

The big job gain in October, coupled with the upward revision to September, considerably boosted Oregon’s over-the-year growth rate. Since October 2016, Oregon has added 45,000 nonfarm payroll jobs, which equals an annual growth rate of 2.4 percent. Construction continues to lead the way with 9,400 jobs added, equaling 10.3 percent growth. The second fastest growing industry was transportation, warehousing and utilities (+3,400 jobs, or 5.6%).

Oregon’s unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 4.3 percent in October from 4.2 percent in September, remaining near the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in October.

Read the full statewide press release

Monday, November 13, 2017

Made in Oregon: A Brief Profile of the State’s Manufacturing Sector

Oregon’s manufacturing sector is growing more quickly than the nation’s. Since its lowest employment level in February and March 2010, manufacturing employment in Oregon has grown by 18.6 percent compared with the nation’s 8.7 percent. However, as of September 2017 manufacturing employment in Oregon is still 16,200 jobs below its pre-recession peak in June 2006.

On top of faster growth, Oregon’s manufacturing sector is also a larger component of the economy than it is for the nation. While manufacturing made up 8.5 percent of payroll employment in the United States in September 2017, it made up 10.2 percent of Oregon’s employment.

The largest detailed industry by far is the semiconductor and electronic components industry (29,900 jobs). It also pays far more on average than any other manufacturing industries ($142,000). Other high-paying industries on the list include electronic instrument manufacturing ($103,000) and aerospace product and parts manufacturing ($83,700).

True to Oregon’s long history in forestry, two of Oregon’s top industries are tied to our natural resources: veneer and engineered wood products (8,600 jobs) and sawmills and wood preservation (6,400 jobs). While employment in wood product manufacturing is but a fraction of what it was a few decades ago, these two industries combined play an influential role in Oregon’s manufacturing sector.

The share of manufacturing workers by gender has remained unchanged for the past 20 years. In 1997, about 73 percent of the manufacturing workforce was male, and 27 percent female. These shares were the same in 2016, and remained almost exactly the same throughout the past two decades.

Read the full article "Made in Oregon: A Profile of the State’s Manufacturing Sector" by Economist Felicia Bechtoldt.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Employment among Oregon's Veterans

In 2016, the unemployment rate for veterans in Oregon was 6.3 percent according to the Current Population Survey. This was higher than Oregon’s overall unemployment rate of 4.9 percent. Across the U.S., veterans had a lower unemployment rate of 4.3 percent.

Around 142,000 of the 151,000 veterans in the labor force were employed, with 117,000 being employed full time and 25,000 part time. About 9,000 veterans were unemployed, which accounted for 9.4 percent of the unemployed population (96,000) in the state. Over the last decade, unemployed veterans made up between 6.5 percent and 10.1 percent of the overall unemployed population in the state. 
In 2016, Oregon’s veterans earned a higher median income ($36,959) than nonveterans ($27,432). Education could be one of the factors influencing veterans’ higher median income. Among Oregon’s veterans ages 25 years and older, 41.6 percent have an associate’s degree or some college compared with 33.8 percent of nonveterans. About 5.3 percent of veterans don’t have a high school diploma, while 10.2 percent of nonveterans don’t have a high school diploma. 

Veterans are more likely to have a disability, but less likely to be in poverty than the general population. About 33.3 percent of Oregon’s veterans reported to have a service-connected disability, compared with 17.6 percent of the total civilian population. About 7.4 percent of veterans were in poverty compared with about 12.4 percent of the total civilian population.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Inflation’s Effect on Wages

Most Oregon’s counties had an increase in inflation-adjusted average wages from 2006 to 2016. Overall, the average wage for the entire state increased by $2,865 after adjusting for inflation. Most of the statewide increase was driven by the large gains in Washington and Multnomah counties. These two counties in the Portland metro area are home to nearly 1.4 million Oregonians (about one-third of the state’s population) and nearly $46 billion in payroll (about 50 percent of the state’s total).

Several of the top-gaining counties on a per-person basis are located in the Columbia Gorge. Sherman, Morrow, Hood River, and Wasco counties benefited from their agricultural bases and the expansion of agricultural suppliers and processors. Food manufacturing, wholesale trade, warehousing and transportation businesses have fueled wage growth.

Some counties with the larger losses were hit unusually hard in the Great Recession. Columbia and Linn counties lost many jobs in paper manufacturing and wood product manufacturing. Klamath County was doubly hit by the housing bust as local housing and mortgage businesses cut back and well as manufacturers supplying the national construction market.

Despite some losses, a majority of Oregon’s counties – 29 out of 36 – had 2016 wages that were higher than they were in 2006 even after adjusting for inflation. Even better news is that these counties are home to about 88 percent of the state’s population.

The original article was written by Regional Economist Erik Knoder

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Fast Facts

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

Share of people in the U.S. with costumes for their pets in 2017

The number of sugar and confectionery product manufacturing establishments in Oregon in 2016

Average Halloween spending per buyer in 2017, according to the National Retail Federation's annual survey

Oregon's total number of gift and novelty stores in 2016, which includes seasonal Halloween costume stores

The 2016 population of potentially costumed Oregonians under age 15 in search of candy asking "trick or treat?"

The number of households statewide (2015) that children can pass by and/or visit while trick-or-treating

179 million
Estimated total number of people in the U.S. celebrating Halloween in 2017!

Wildfires Impact on September Employment Figures

September’s wildfires didn’t seem to have a noticeable impact on the statewide jobs and unemployment rate report. The fires did have a noticeable impact the local job reports in the Columbia Gorge, Central Oregon, and Southern Oregon. Leisure and hospitality businesses in these areas cut a combined 600 more jobs than they usually do in September. This sector includes restaurants, hotels, and other tourism related businesses. Since the wildfires and smoke coincided with the end of the tourism season, it is not possible to fully tell which jobs were lost due to the
unusual wildfires and smoke, and which jobs were cut as the usual tourism season ended.

The wildfires had no effect on unemployment rates in September. In order to be counted as unemployed in the statistics, an individual must not have a job during the reference week (the week of the month containing the 12th, which was September 10-16, 2017), but were available for a job and were making active efforts to find one. Individuals that have jobs but were temporarily absent from their workplace due to wildfires would be considered employed, as would workers whose normal work hours were reduced during the week.

Seasonal wildland firefighter jobs are often outside the scope of the monthly job growth figures. Figures for the increase in wildland firefighter jobs will be available in about three months.

Employment Department regional economists in Central Oregon, the Columbia Gorge, the Portland area, South Coast, and Southern Oregon provided more detailed information about wildfire employment impacts in their areas, which can be found here.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Where Do Workers that Speak English Less Than "Very Well" Work in Oregon?

In Oregon, about 123,000 workers speak English less than “very well” according to the American Community Survey responses collected from 2011 to 2015. This represents 7 percent of all Oregon workers. This group includes workers that don’t speak English, speak English “not well”, and speak English “well”. About 157,000 workers (9%) speak another language and speak English “very well,” while about 1.5 million workers (84%) speak only English.

The ability to speak English influences a worker’s ability to succeed. It affects the employment status, work status, earnings and the occupations the workers are in. The highest share of workers who speak English less than “very well” is in natural resources and mining industries with 28 percent (15,888 workers). This industry includes agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting and mining. Other industries with a high share of workers that speak English less than “very well” are leisure and hospitality (12%, 21,148) and manufacturing (10%, 21,750).
Workers that speak English less than “very well” tend to be in occupations with lower education requirements. In the farming, fishing, and forestry occupational group, 44 percent of workers in Oregon (14,373) speak English less than “very well.” This occupational group includes agricultural workers; fishing and hunting workers; forest, conservation, and logging workers; and supervisors of farming, fishing and forestry workers. Other occupational groups with high concentrations of workers that speak English less than “very well” include:
  • building, grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations (24%, 15,893), which include landscapers, janitors and maids;
  • production occupations (17%, 18,349), which include butchers, bakers, assemblers, and welders among others; and 
  • food preparation and serving related occupations (14%, 16,083), such as waitstaff, cooks, bartenders, and dishwashers.

Learn more about earnings of workers that speak English less than "very well" in the full article "Ability of Oregon Workers to Speak English Varies by Type of Job" by Economist Felicia Bechtoldt.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

September 2017 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

Benton County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 3.6 percent in September 2017. Other counties with some of the lowest unemployment rates include Washington (3.7%), Hood River (3.8%), and Multnomah (3.8%).

Grant County (6.4%) registered the highest rate for the month. Crook (6.3%), Curry (6.2%), and Josephine (6.1%) counties also had some of the highest unemployment rates in the state.

Seven of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates below the statewide and national rate of 4.2 percent. Gilliam County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 1.7 percentage points, more than any other county. Other counties that saw a large improvement in their unemployment rates were Wallowa and Baker, where the unemployment rates improved by 1.2 and 1.1 percentage points, respectively, over the year.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all of Oregon’s six broad regions between September 2016 and September 2017. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+3.0%). Portland (+1.9%), the Willamette Valley (+1.7%), Eastern Oregon (+1.4%), the Oregon Coast (+1.2%), and Southern Oregon (+0.8%) also saw growth.

Click here to see the press release for your county. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Travel Nursing in Oregon

Travel nurses are employed by a staffing agency, which contracts with health care facilities to provide RN coverage for short periods of time. The typical assignment is 13 weeks, but can be shorter or longer depending on the facility’s needs or if the parties agree to an extension. The staffing agency usually helps the traveler locate housing, and can reimburse some travel and licensing costs. They also vet the candidates’ skills and specialties, reducing the administrative burden on healthcare facilities. This arrangement allows travelers to work in areas far from home, and allows healthcare facilities short-term, stable contracts to meet workforce needs.
Nearly all travel nurses in Oregon work in hospitals and health systems. According to The Demand for Nursing Professionals in Oregon, a report from the Oregon Center for Nursing (OCN), nearly 75 percent of hospitals and health systems surveyed reported using travelers in 2015, in contrast with less than 10 percent of all other kinds of facilities.

No agency or organization keeps steady statistics on the number of travelers, but there are a few things we can say about the occupation. We can get a ballpark estimate of how many travelers work in Oregon by using some unpublished data gathered by OCN. In the last three years, there were 850 RNs with an active Oregon nursing license who worked in Oregon and lived outside the state certified to practice in the state using licensure they received in another state.

This number includes travel nurses coming from out of state, the largest numbers of which come from nearby states like California, Washington, Idaho, and Arizona, as well as states like Texas and Florida. This estimate captures some non-travelers, such as nurses practicing telemedicine in Oregon across state lines, and fails to capture in-state travelers (such as a Portland-based nurse who works in Ontario or Roseburg).

Based on this data, an estimated 500 to 1,200 travel nurses likely worked in Oregon over the past three years, with fluctuations based on economic conditions and health policy changes. Travelers were a small part of the 33,421 RNs employed in the state in 2014 according to Oregon Employment Department data.

Read the full article by Workforce Analyst Henry Fields

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Oregon’s Employment Declines for the Second Consecutive Month in September

In September, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 3,800 jobs, following a revised loss of 7,000 in August. These job losses followed rapid gains during February through July, when a total of 42,600 jobs were added in just six months.

In September, four industries cut more than 1,000 jobs, while two added more than 1,000. Leisure and hospitality (-3,700 jobs) cut the most as this industry returned to the long-term trend line after a spike upward in June and July. With vacancy surveys indicating that many firms are having trouble attracting workers, part of the weakness in hiring is likely due to the tight labor market.

Professional and business services (-3,100 jobs) cut back at a time of year when a flat trend is typical for the industry. The industry appears to have stalled from its upward trajectory over the past eight years. Each of its published component industries cut jobs since September 2016: employment services (-1,400 jobs), business support services (-400), and services to buildings and dwellings (-1,500). The two other industries that cut substantially in September were private educational services (-1,400 jobs) and other services (-1,200).

All was not lost in September, as construction added 2,900 jobs and government added 1,400.

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.

Read the full press release

Monday, October 16, 2017

Higher Share of Males in Oregon’s High-Tech Industry

The Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators show that at the beginning of the second quarter of 2016, Oregon’s high-tech industry was 69 percent male and 31 percent female. Looking back in time, there has been a slow but steady upward trend in the percentage of males, increasing from roughly 61 percent male in the early 1990s.

Within the high-tech industry, the industries with the largest share of males in 2016 were aerospace product and parts manufacturing (84%), semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing (73%), and software publishers (70%). One industry, other information services, which includes companies that store and provide access to information through the internet, had a slightly higher share of females at 52 percent to 48 percent male.

The disparity becomes more apparent at the occupational level. The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data shows that in computer and mathematical occupations in 2015 Oregon was roughly 76 percent male and 24 percent female. In architecture and engineering it was roughly 85 percent male and 15 percent female. The higher percentage of females in the industry data compared with the occupational data is likely due to other, nontechnical occupations at tech companies such as front office, finance, and marketing. It may also help to explain the tech sector industry trend towards a higher percentage of males in recent years since workplaces overall have become more technical through time.

Read the full article by Regional Economist Brian Rooney and for more information about Oregon's high-tech industries, read "Oregon's High-Tech Employment Trends - What is High Tech?" by Workforce Analyst Emily Starbuck.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Jobs in Renewable Energy

In the U.S., renewables provided 15 percent of the energy generated in 2016 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Hydropower accounted for 6.5 percent of the U.S. electricity generation; wind power provided 5.6 percent; biomass provided 1.5 percent; and solar and geothermal accounted for 0.9 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

In Oregon, 68 percent of electricity was generated from renewable resources in 2015, mainly hydroelectric power plants. In 2016, there were about 1,800 jobs in the renewable energy sector in Oregon. This includes establishments that are primarily engaged in operating hydropower, geothermal, biomass, wind, and other electric power generation facilities. It excludes establishments that build renewable energy power facilities, and manufacture and install renewable energy technologies. Nearly three out of four jobs in renewables were in the government, the majority being in the Bonneville Power Administration. Oregon’s hydropower facilities provided 84 percent of the jobs (1,521). Other renewables provided 296 jobs. 

The average wage in the sector was $100,468 in 2016. Common jobs in the renewable energy sector include power plant operators; electrical power-line installers and repairers; power distributors and dispatchers; wind turbine service technicians; solar photovoltaic installers; electricians; electrical engineers; environmental engineers; and financial analysts. In Oregon, these occupations have hourly median wages that range from $19.47 for solar photovoltaic installers to $45.33 for power distributors and dispatchers. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Poverty and Age in Oregon

Oregon’s poverty rate dropped more than 2 percentage points in 2016, to 13.3 percent. Among the states and Washington, D.C., Oregon’s 2016 poverty rate ranked right in the middle at 25th lowest. Poverty rates in 2016 ranged from 7.3 percent in New Hampshire to 20.8 percent in Mississippi in 2016. Back in 2006, Oregon’s poverty rate ranked 30th among the states and Washington, D.C. In the midst of the Great Recession in 2011, Oregon’s poverty rate ranked 36th lowest.

Many of the people in the United States who fall below the official poverty threshold are children or elderly. This is why economic conditions and the availability of jobs don’t change poverty rates very drastically or quickly – many of the people in poverty aren’t willing or able to take a job, so job availability doesn’t change their likelihood of being below the poverty line.

In 2016, just about one-third of the people below the poverty line in the U.S. were under the age of 18. In Oregon, a smaller share of those in poverty were children, at 27 percent. There were 40,200 Oregon children under the age of five in poverty in 2016; they made up 8 percent of people below the poverty line. Another 104,100 Oregon children ages five to 17 were in poverty, accounting for 19 percent of the total below the poverty line.

People age 65 and over make up one out of 10 people in poverty. In Oregon in 2016, 50,900 people age 65 and over had income below the poverty line. However, the population age 65 and over is large enough that the elder population actually has the lowest poverty rate. Oregonians age 65 and over make up 17 percent of the state’s population, but just 9 percent of those in poverty.

Read Economist Jessica Nelson's full article "Poverty and the Oregon Workforce".