Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Oregon's Unemployment Rate Drops to Record Low 3.9 Percent

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in July, which was Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1976. Oregon’s June unemployment rate was 4.0 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate matched Oregon’s rate in both months: 3.9 percent in July and 4.0 percent in June.

In July, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment rose by 5,400 jobs, following a revised (and much bigger) over-the-month gain of 6,600 jobs in June. Updated payroll employment figures covering the spring and early summer also show bigger job gains than originally estimated. 

Monthly job gains in July were concentrated in retail trade (+1,900 jobs), construction (+1,700), and health care and social assistance (+1,400). The only major industry performing below seasonal expectations was government, which cut 2,200 jobs.

Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment increased by 45,300 jobs (2.4%) since July 2017. Oregon’s gains over the past 12 months were largest by far in construction, which added 11,000 jobs, (+11.2%). Over the year, many sectors added jobs at a relatively fast pace: leisure and hospitality (+8,100 jobs, or 3.9%); manufacturing (+6,300 jobs, or 3.3%); professional and business services (+7,900 jobs, or 3.2%); and health care and social assistance (+7,600 jobs, or 3.2%). 
You can find more information about Oregon's current employment situation in the full press release.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Health Care Dominates Oregon’s Nonprofit Employment

A not-for-profit corporation, commonly referred to as a "nonprofit," qualifies for federal tax exempt status, and must reinvest any surplus revenues into efforts that further the mission of the organization. They are prohibited from passing profits on to those who control the organization. These organizations range from trade unions and religious groups to food banks and private schools. Many hospitals are also organized as nonprofit corporations.

Oregon's 2017 nonprofit statistics:
  • 9,652 nonprofit establishments 
  • 194,360 nonprofit jobs 
  • 44% of all nonprofits were in the other services industry 
  • 61% of nonprofit employment was in health care 
  • $50,906 in annual average pay 
  • $22.27 median hourly wage (1st quarter 2017) 
  • Just 4.8 percent of nonprofit jobs paid $10.00 or less per hour 
  • Most nonprofit jobs – 70.5 percent – paid $16.00 or more per hour 
Health care and social assistance dominated Oregon’s nonprofit employment in 2017, representing 118,957 jobs or 61 percent. Other services included 25,308 nonprofit jobs and educational services employed 20,856. Together the top three industries represented 85 percent of Oregon’s total nonprofit employment.
For more details about Oregon's nonprofits, read the full article written by Regional Economist Dallas Fridley

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Oregon’s Brewing Industry Still Growing, but at a Much Slower Pace

A brewing establishment is 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.

Although we continue to see new breweries and pubs being created each year, an increasing number are also closing up shop. When accounting for these closures the state only netted three new brewing establishments that reported payroll in 2017. Additionally, employment growth in the brewing industry is slowing dramatically compared with several years ago. Last year the industry expanded by 6.2 percent (+480 jobs). This is rapid growth when compared with the 2.1 percent growth in total nonfarm employment over the past year, but significantly slower than the 13.4 percent growth in breweries’ employment back in 2015.
Brewing employment continues to be dominated by pubs, which account for around 68 percent (5,560 jobs) of all brewing jobs. Not only are pubs the largest employers, but they are also the fastest growing. Over the past year pubs added around 460 jobs (+9%), while manufacturing breweries only netted 12 new jobs (+0.5%). Despite the slower employment growth, manufacturing brewing establishments are higher paying; their average wage is 45 percent higher than pubs. This isn’t too surprising as a large share of the employment in pubs is concentrated in restaurant occupations, such as waiters and waitresses; food preparation; dishwashers; and cooks.

You can read more about Oregon's brewing industry here

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Unemployment Duration and Reasons in Oregon

This week a business found this old post I wrote about the duration and reasons for unemployment in Oregon. They asked how 2017 compares. So let's take a look!

The Current Population Survey shows total unemployment at 86,000 in 2017. That's the lowest number of unemployed persons in Oregon going back to 2003. The median duration that a person remained unemployed in Oregon neared nine weeks in 2017. That was a slight increase from seven and a half weeks in 2016. The shortest median duration in recent years, seven weeks, occurred in both 2006 and 2007.

In the wake of the last recession, the majority of unemployed Oregonians between 2009 and 2012 had lost their jobs. In 2009, unemployment topped 220,000, and Oregonians who lost jobs accounted for two-thirds (67%) of the total. That share dropped to 48 percent by 2013, as the number of unemployed persons who lost their jobs fell by more than half, the number of labor force entrants grew, and the number of workers voluntarily leaving jobs without another one lined up stayed relatively low.

Since 2013, total unemployment has declined year to year. The number of new labor force entrants has slowed. Still, by 2016, there were more unemployed Oregonians who had joined the labor force but not yet found a job than unemployed Oregonians who lost a job. As of 2017, entrants made up the largest share of the unemployed (43%). Oregon had 30,700 unemployed workers who lost their jobs, which made up 39 percent of the total. Unemployed workers who voluntarily quit their jobs reached an eight-year high at 13,600 (18% of the total).

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

June 2018 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

Benton County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 2.9 percent in June 2018. Other counties with some of the lowest unemployment rates in June included Gilliam and Hood River, with 3.1 percent.

Eastern and Southern Oregon had higher unemployment rates in June 2018, which were still close to their record low unemployment rates since 1990. Grant County registered the highest unemployment rate for the month at 6.5 percent and is close to its lowest unemployment rate on record of 6.4 percent in October 2017.

Fourteen of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide and national unemployment rates of 4.0 percent. Gilliam County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 1.0 percentage point, more than any other county.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose or remained unchanged in all of Oregon’s six broad regions between June 2017 and June 2018. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+2.9%) and Southern Oregon (+2.8%). The Willamette Valley (+1.7%), the Portland area (+1.3%), and the Oregon Coast (+0.9%) also added jobs. Eastern Oregon saw no change in employment.

Press releases on employment and unemployment for a specific county are available here.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Oregon’s Youth Unemployment Rate at Record Low

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in 2017, which was Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1976.

The unemployment rate for Oregon teens ages 16 to 19 was 9.5 percent in 2017, which was also the lowest unemployment rate since 1978 when comparable records began. This was a large drop from a year before when the unemployment rate for teens was 20.0 percent.

The unemployment rate for Oregon young adults ages 20 to 24 was 7.6 percent in 2017, which was also the lowest unemployment rate recorded for this age category. The last time the unemployment rate for young adults was 7.6 percent was in 2005. In 2016, the unemployment rate for young adults was 9.6 percent.

Having a part-time or summer job used to be the normal situation for many teenagers. The labor force participation of teens averaged around 59 percent from 1978 to 2000. The rate started falling dramatically in 2001 both in Oregon and the nation. During the recession and in the aftermath of the recession it continued to slip.

Oregon’s strong job growth since 2013 attracted more teens and young adults into the labor force. The participation rate of teens ages 16 to 19 increased to 40 percent in 2017. Teen participation is close to its pre-recession rate of 42 percent, but still considerably less than what is was in the 1990s. The participation rate of young adults ages 20 to 24 increased to 74 percent in 2017.

More information is available in “Unemployment Rates for Oregon’s Youth – Lowest on Record.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Oregon Unemployment Rate at New Record Low of 4.0 Percent in June

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in June, which was Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1976. Oregon’s May unemployment rate was 4.1 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate was also 4.0 percent in June.

In June, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1,900 jobs, following a revised gain of 3,200 jobs in May. Job gains were led by leisure and hospitality (+1,800 jobs) and private educational services (+1,000). Three major industries each added close to 600 jobs: health care and social assistance (+700); manufacturing (+600); and construction (+500). Several industries shed jobs in June, including retail trade (-1,000 jobs); information (-800); financial activities (-600); and transportation, warehousing and utilities (-500). 
Although Oregon’s payroll employment continued to expand, the rate of growth has moderated in recent months. Job gains averaged 1,500 per month over the past three months. Over the past 12 months, 31,400 jobs were added, good for a growth rate of 1.6 percent. This growth matched that of the U.S. where over-the-year job growth was also 1.6 percent through June. Oregon’s job gains were much faster in 2013 through 2017, averaging 2.8 percent per year and reaching a peak growth rate of 3.7 percent in mid-2015.

Part of the reason for the slowdown in the rate of job growth is likely due to an unusually tight labor market. Many employers are facing increasing difficulty hiring workers. The degree of Oregon’s labor market tightness is reflected in these indicators: 
  • The number of people working part time for economic reasons is at the lowest since at least 2002, when comparable records began. 
  • The broadest measure of labor underutilization, U-6, dropped to 7.8 percent in June, which was its lowest reading since at least 2002. 
  • The number of Oregonians unemployed for 27 weeks or more dropped below 7,000, the lowest level since at least 2002, and far below the more than 100,000 long-term unemployed in 2010 during the aftermath of the recession. 
  • The number of people entering the labor market without a job was at its lowest level since at least 2000, when comparable records began.
You can find the full press release here. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Oregon’s Part-Time Workers

Although most people work in full-time jobs, around 21 percent of employed Oregonians usually worked part-time schedules in 2017. People work part time for a variety of reasons. Part-time jobs offer flexibility for some who seek a job that fits their circumstances, such as students, those looking for additional income from seasonal work, or a spouse in a household with young children.

From 2012 to 2016, Oregon’s highest concentration of part-time employment was in food preparation and serving related occupations (56%); personal care and service (47%); and building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations (43%). Specific occupations reported as being nearly all part-time included restaurant hosts and hostesses; entertainment attendants; massage therapists; musicians; and lifeguards.

Occupations with the smallest part-time worker presence included architecture and engineering (7%); installation, maintenance, and repair (9%); computer and math occupations (10%); business and financial operations (12%); and production occupations (12%).

Interestingly, Oregon’s largest occupational groups reported varying percentages of part-time workers. Business and financial operations occupations employed nearly 274,000 workers, of which almost 32,600 worked part time (12%). Office and administrative support employed 239,000, and in those occupations 28 percent worked part time. Food preparation and serving related workers, a large occupational group often associated with Oregon’s seasonal leisure and hospitality industry, reported over half of its 118,155 workers were employed part time.
For more information on part-time workers, read the full article by Workforce Analyst Henry Fields

Friday, June 29, 2018

Oregon's Minimum Wage Increases on July 1, 2018

On July 1, 2018, the minimum wage increases to $12.00 per hour inside the Portland urban growth boundary, $10.50 per hour in nonurban counties, and $10.75 in other areas of the state.

Oregon’s three minimum wages will be in the top six state-level minimum wages in the nation (including the District of Columbia). The highest minimum wage will be in the District of Columbia ($13.25), followed by Washington ($11.50), Massachusetts ($11.00), and California ($11.00). The federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per hour.

Looking back between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, Oregon’s minimum wages were $11.25 per hour within the Portland urban growth boundary, $10.25 standard, and $10.00 in nonurban counties. Roughly 7.4 percent of all jobs (160,274 jobs) paid minimum wage or less in Oregon in the third quarter of 2017. The share of jobs paying minimum wage ranged from a low of 4.0 percent in Morrow County (295 jobs) to a high of 13.3 percent in Malheur County (2,050 jobs). Multnomah County had 39,561 minimum wage jobs, which made up 7.1 percent of total jobs in the county.

You can find more information about Oregon's three minimum wages in this article, written by Economist Felicia Bechtoldt and State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Oregon's Total Employment to Grow 12 Percent by 2027

Oregon’s total employment will grow by 245,800 jobs between 2017 and 2027. The 12 percent employment increase includes private-sector gains of 211,700 jobs, growth of 18,000 jobs in government, and an additional 16,100 self-employed Oregonians.

Health Care Leads Job Growth
All private sectors in Oregon are expected to add jobs by 2027. Health care and social assistance will add 49,500 jobs, the most of any sector. It also has the fastest growth rate (20%) of any sector statewide. Professional and business services ranks second in job growth with 41,200 new jobs, while the second fastest-growing industry will be construction (17%). Together these three sectors will account for nearly half of all new jobs in Oregon over the 10-year period.

While overall employment and jobs in many sectors are expected to grow beyond their current peak levels, three sectors will fall short of their peak employment by 2027. Each of these three below-peak sectors consist of different component industries growing in notably different ways.

Some smaller components of manufacturing – such as food (15%) and beverage manufacturing (30%) – show relatively fast projected growth rates. Meanwhile, the relatively larger wood product manufacturing (0.4%) and paper manufacturing (-7%) industries show little net growth or projected declines by 2027.

In financial activities, expected population growth and increased construction is associated with the projected 8 percent gain in real estate jobs. By comparison, financial establishments primarily engaged in deposit banking and extending credit – which account for the bulk of all financial activities – are projected to grow by just 2 percent.

One portion of the information sector consists of the growing software publishing industry, with projected growth of 26 percent by 2027. That’s quite a contrast from projected growth in the other information-related industries. Telecommunications jobs are expected to decline by 4 percent, while newspaper, book, and directory publishers can expect job losses totaling 400 (-12%).

All Industries Need Workers
Slower growing sectors and declining industries still offer many job opportunities. For every one job created by a new or expanding business in Oregon, there will be another nine job openings to replace workers to retire or make a major occupational change. We expect Oregon to have an annual average of 263,000 total job openings, spread across all sectors and all regions of the state.

More information about Oregon's future workforce needs can be found in the full industry summary, written by me, or by exploring the interactive graphs at

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Why is it Difficult to Fill Job Vacancies in Oregon?

Each year we summarize the key findings from our job vacancy survey into a report, with specific emphasis on the challenges businesses face filling their job vacancies. In 2017, Oregon businesses reported 60,700 job vacancies at any given time in 2017. Of these vacancies, 38,700 job openings (64%) were reported as difficult to fill.

For each of their difficult-to-fill vacancies, employers offered open-ended responses to identify what they thought was the primary reason for the unfilled opening. A lack of applicants was the most common challenge filling vacancies. Nearly one out of every three (30%) difficult-to-fill job vacancies had an insufficient number of applicants or no applicants at all. That makes sense, given the state's continued job growth and historic low unemployment rate. The point was made clear by the construction business that was having difficulty hiring heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers because, “The heating industry is busy and anyone who has experience is already working elsewhere.”

A lack of qualified candidates was the second most common reason given by businesses for their difficulty filling vacancies. It was the primary reason given for 6,100 vacancies and represented 17 percent of all difficult-to-fill vacancies. Some referenced very specific qualifications or specialized knowledge within a particular occupation and specific setting, such as the bank with a difficult-to-fill loan officer vacancy that mentioned, “Mortgage underwriting with government loan experience is rare and in high demand.” 

Unfavorable working conditions was the main reason businesses reported difficulty filling nearly 5,000 vacancies, and represented 14 percent of all hard-to-fill vacancies. These vacancies were for jobs that employers candidly reported were not the best working conditions for most people because they had inconsistent shifts, part-time only shifts, or were physically demanding jobs. Examples included vacancies at a Mid-Valley farm where the job was physically demanding and the workers “must be comfortable working with chickens, around manure, etc.” 

Businesses said the lack of soft skills among applicants was the primary reason for difficulty filling nearly 4,000 vacancies, which was 11 percent of all difficult-to-fill vacancies. Soft skills include professional competencies required for a job, such as communication, interpersonal, and social skills. In the Job Vacancy Survey it included employer responses related to subjective traits such as honesty, reliability, and motivation. It also included more quantifiable traits such as having a valid driver’s license and clean driving record, passing a background check, and passing a drug screen.

A lack of previous work experience was given by business as the primary cause that 3,200 vacancies were difficult to fill, which totaled 9 percent of all difficult-to-fill vacancies. Most businesses value applicants with previous work experience and it is a big contributor in making vacancies difficult to fill. There are far fewer experienced workers looking for jobs now than a few years ago when the unemployment rate was much higher, and this is making it difficult to fill vacancies across a wide variety of occupations.

Occupations with the largest number of vacancies that, according to businesses, were difficult-to-fill because of low wages, tended to (understandably) be low-wage occupations. Personal care aides topped the list with 392 vacancies that were difficult to fill due to low wages. 

You can find more information about Oregon's difficult-to-fill job vacancies in the full report on Oregon's Current Workforce Gaps, written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Oregon's Current Workforce Gaps and Future Workforce Needs

Continued job growth and record low unemployment are making it difficult for Oregon businesses to fill current vacancies, and Oregon’s economy is expected to create 263,000 total job openings each year through 2027. These are the findings of two new reports released by the Oregon Employment Department. One report is based on a survey of businesses that is designed to measure Oregon’s current workforce gaps. The other is based on economic trends and forecasts, and is designed to predict Oregon’s future workforce needs.

Oregon businesses had 60,700 job vacancies at any one time during 2017. According to businesses, 38,700 (64%) of these vacancies were difficult to fill. This was the largest number of vacancies and share of difficult-to-fill vacancies since the job vacancy survey began in 2013.

A lack of applicants was the most common challenge filling vacancies. Nearly one out of every three (30%) difficult-to-fill job vacancies had an insufficient number of applicants or no applicants at all. Employers reported difficulty filling at least some job openings for 354 different occupations. Those with the largest number of difficult-to-fill vacancies included truck drivers, carpenters, personal care aides, construction laborers, farmworkers, and restaurant cooks. Hiring challenges are affecting all areas and all industries in Oregon.

Businesses' relatively strong demand for workers should continue through 2027. Oregon's total employment is projected to grow by 12 percent, with a total of 246,000 new jobs and an annual average of 263,000 total job openings.

All private sectors are expected to add jobs. Private health care and social assistance will lead all industries in new job growth, accounting for one out of every five new jobs in Oregon by 2027. This can be attributed to continued growth and aging of the state's population. Oregon's second-fastest growing industry will be construction. Demand from both population and economic growth, and currently low residential inventory and low commercial vacancy rates across many areas of the state should lead construction employment to rise by 17 percent.

Want to see how your occupation will fare between 2017 and 2027? Check out this interactive display of total projected openings for hundreds of occupations statewide.

All areas of Oregon expect to see job opportunities due to both economic growth and to replace workers leaving the labor force or making major occupational changes. The two regions projected to grow faster than the statewide rate are Central Oregon (15%) and the Portland area (13%).
A wealth of additional information can be found in the full report about Oregon's current workforce gaps, written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks. More employment projections details and interactive graphs are available at