Friday, June 23, 2017

Oregon’s Unemployment Insurance Claimants by Industry

In 2016, the majority of continued claimants were in the following industries: trade (13.4%), manufacturing (13.1%), construction (10.3%), health care and social assistance (10.2%), and administrative and waste services (10.2%).

Some industries were severely affected by the recent recession. In December 2007, seasonally adjusted continued claims in construction, manufacturing, and trade were around 5,500 to 6,000 for each industry. The seasonally adjusted levels in each industry rapidly increased before peaking in 2009; construction increased to more than 15,000, manufacturing increased to over 19,000, and trade increased to nearly 14,000.

Likewise, the business cycle impacted the percentage distribution of continued claims by industry between 2007 and 2016. In 2007, the majority of continued claimants were in the following industries: manufacturing (15.7%), trade (14.7%), construction (14.1%), and administrative and waste services (9.7%). These four industries comprised 54.1 percent of continued claimants in 2007. In 2009, these same four industries comprised 59.9 percent of all continued claimants, with manufacturing at 19.3 percent, construction at 16.5 percent, trade at 15.1 percent, and administrative and waste services at 9.0 percent. In 2016, the share of these four industries declined to 47.1 percent of all continued claimants.
Learn more about Oregon's unemployed population in the full article "Behind the Aggregate Statistics: A Closer Look at the Characteristics of Oregon's Unemployed" written by local area unemployment statistics coordinator Tracy Morrissette.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Retail Jobs Made up About 11% of Total Jobs in Oregon in 2016

Retail trade includes a variety of establishments and activities selling products,  as well as after sale services such as cleaning and repair. Retailers sell their products and services directly to consumers which may include individuals and businesses. There are two types of retail establishments: store and non-store retailers. Retail stores have fixed, brick-and-mortar facilities, while non-store retailers sell via websites, catalogs, kiosks, stalls, and door-to-door.

In 2016, the number of retail trade establishments in Oregon was 13,620 with 205,058 jobs, about 11 percent of total employment. The number of retail jobs can fluctuate due to seasonal factors, and urban areas have a higher concentration of retail businesses and jobs. Retail trade’s largest employers are:
  • Food and beverage stores: 42,767 jobs
  • General merchandise stores (including department stores): 42,728 jobs
  • Motor vehicle and parts dealers: 25,786 jobs

The most common retail jobs are retail salespersons, cashiers, and stock clerks, while in online establishments the key job is customer service representatives. Retail jobs typically require only a high school education and no experience. The pay usually starts at or close to minimum wage with the average wages at about $13 per hour, depending on location and type of retail. The lowest overall wages are reported in groceries, clothing stores, and gas stations and convenience stores. New car dealerships, RV dealers, and floor covering stores can offer $24 per hour on average – the highest wages in retail trade.

Learn more about Oregon's retail trade in the full article "Retail Trade, Where Change Is the Only Constant" written by workforce analyst Ainoura Oussenbec.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Twenty-Eight Counties Had Historic Low Unemployment Rates in May

Twenty-eight counties were at or tied with their historic low unemployment rates. Benton County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May at 2.8 percent. Grant County (6.7%) registered the highest rate for the month. This was the lowest unemployment rate for Grant County since comparable records began in 1990.

Ten of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 3.6 percent and 22 counties were at or below the national rate of 4.3 percent. Gilliam County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 2.9 percentage points, more than any other county.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all of Oregon’s six broad regions between May 2016 and May 2017. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+3.7%). Southern Oregon (+2.8%), the Willamette Valley (+1.8%), the Oregon Coast (+1.7%), Portland (+1.4%), and Eastern Oregon (+1.3%) also saw growth.

See the full labor force and unemployment by area press release in 36 counties and metropolitan areas in Oregon.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Facts for Features: Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! Here are some fun facts about dads in the United States.

The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

In 2014, there were an estimated 72.2 million fathers across the nation. 29.2 million fathers are also grandfathers.

Here are some more fun facts about dads:

The number of U.S. dads who were stay-at-home parents in 2016

The number of children under age 15 stay-at-home dads cared for in 2016
2.0 million
Single fathers living with their children under 18 in 2016

The number of single, male Oregonians in the labor force with children under 18 in 2015

The share of single, male parents nationwide in 2016

Percentage of married Oregon families in 2015 with children under 18 and men not in the labor force while their spouses were in the labor force

For more father facts, visit the Census Bureau's "Facts for Features: Father's Day: June 18, 2017" article. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dairy Production Grows as Dairy Prices Stabilize in 2017

Oregon dairy products are recognized worldwide for their high quality and employment is growing as a result. Dairy farms in Oregon were historically small, often employing a family and a few other individuals, but recent trends show dairy farms are getting bigger. Their primary product is milk, the official beverage of the state of Oregon. The milk is sold to dairy manufacturers who then sell the milk and use it to make cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, and other dairy products.

Rising milk prices lifted Oregon’s sales to a record $650 million in 2014. Milk production held steady in 2015 then rose by 1.6 percent in 2016 to a new high of 2,593 million pounds. Despite record production, the value of sales fell to $465 million in 2016, a loss of 1.6 percent over 2015 and its lowest total since $412 million in 2010.

Looking back to 2002, Oregon’s milk production rose tremendously, climbing nearly 22 percent or 376 million pounds to reach 2,093 million pounds. Production gains continued over the next two years, reaching 2,270 million pounds in 2004, an increase of 8.5 percent over 2002. Production steadied at that level for several years before Oregon milk producers expanded production again in 2010, leading to an increase of 151 million pounds or 6.7 percent followed by a gain of 80 million pounds or 3.3 percent in 2011.

Learn more about Oregon dairy production in the full article "Oregon Dairy Production Grows as Dairy Prices Stabilize in 2017" written by Regional Economist Dallas Fridley.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Oregon's Record Low Unemployment and Growing Labor Force

This morning the Oregon Employment Department released the May unemployment and jobs numbers for the state. Oregon's 3.6 percent unemployment rate marked another record low since comparable records began in 1976.

That Oregon's unemployment rate has reached a record low while the labor force also continues to grow. For the first time, in May, Oregon’s labor force rose above 2.1 million. The labor force grew by 40,000 in the first five months of this year.
In May, nonfarm payroll employment rose 2,900, following a revised gain of 6,800 in April. The construction sector continued its strong growth with a gain of 1,600 jobs over the month. Manufacturing added 900 jobs.

Nationally, payrolls expanded by 1.6 percent over the past year. Oregon's job growth totaled 40,400 (2.2%). Construction led state industry growth, with gains of 8,200 (9.2%) over the past year. Within construction, the largest growth occurred in specialty trade contractors (e.g., foundation, siding, electrical, and plumbing contractors) and residential building construction.

Find out more about Oregon's May unemployment situation in the full news release, or check out our podcast with labor market highlights from State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Demographic Challenges for Rural Oregon's Workforce

The Oregon Employment Department recently released a special report entitled The Employment Landscape of Rural Oregon. Our examination of rural Oregon’s employment landscape shows a variety of factors have led to a slower recovery outside metropolitan areas. Demographic trends are among the most striking. Natural population growth is low, in-migration is slow, and young people often leave rural communities to seek educational or employment opportunities in urban centers.

Oregon’s rural communities are growing, just at a much slower pace than in urban centers. Net population change results from the combination of two factors: natural increase or decrease in a population (births minus deaths); and net migration (in-migrants minus out-migrants). In-migration – new residents moving in – accounts for all of the population growth in rural Oregon between 2010 and 2016. Oregon’s 23 rural counties combined actually had a natural decrease, with 400 more deaths than births among residents. In metro counties, natural increase accounted for 33 percent of population gains between 2010 and 2016.

A lack of natural increase alone wouldn’t be troubling for the workforce pipeline in rural areas, so long as in-migration included working adults and children. Between 1995 and 2015, that does not appear to be the trend though. There are more than 35,000 additional workers ages 55 and older in rural Oregon today, an increase of 135 percent. Meanwhile, the rural prime working age and youth workforces are both smaller today than back in 1995.

Rural Oregon is in need of its next generation of leaders and could benefit from finding ways to alleviate the tendency toward aging that is a major challenge in many nonmetro areas. Read more about demographics and the workforce in rural Oregon in the full article at

Oregon’s 2016 Net Migration Was the Highest Since 1993

In 2016, Oregon’s population increased by 62,500 to 4,076,400. This marked growth of 1.6 percent over the year, and growth of 6.4 percent since the 2010 Census.

There are two main causes of population change. First, population can increase or decrease through net migration. That is, over the year, people either move into or out of an area. A positive value of net migration means more people moving into an area than leaving it, while a negative value of net migration indicates more people leaving an area than moving in. Second, an area increases in population if more births than deaths occur in a given year and decreases if births are outnumbered by deaths.

A lot of Oregon’s population increase was due to net migration, which at 52,100 people was the largest net migration since 1993. Over the past 20 years, Oregon had an average net migration of 27,100 people per year. The lowest number of net migrants over the last 20 years was 7,000 in 2010. In general, we see net migrants increase as the economy expands and more jobs become available. Notice that prior to the Great Recession, net migration was booming in Oregon. As the recession hit, people became less mobile. This, combined with Oregon experiencing a deeper recession than the nation as a whole, brought net migration to its lowest levels since the 1980s.

Natural increases contributed 10,400 to population growth in 2016, which was slightly higher than the previous year, when the natural increase was 10,300. Over the last two years, Oregon had a relatively low natural increase compared with the last three decades. The last time Oregon had a similar natural increase was in 1973, when the natural increase was 10,500.

Learn more about population in metro areas in the full article "Oregon’s 2016 Net Migration Was the Highest Since 1993" written by Economist Felicia Bechtoldt.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Oregon GDP Growth Ranks Second Fastest Among All States

Oregon’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.3 percent in 2016 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This was more than double the pace of national growth (1.5%) and the second-fastest among all states. A year earlier, in 2015, Oregon’s growth tied with Texas for the fastest in the nation at 4.5 percent.

GDP measures the total market value of final goods and services produced in a given region over a specified period of time. It’s a comprehensive and widely used measure of economic activity.

National GDP growth was fueled by the information sector, as was also the case in Washington and Utah; the states with the fastest and third-fastest growth. This wasn’t the situation in Oregon. Instead, economic growth was driven by durable goods manufacturing, which accounted for nearly one-third of net gains. Oregon derives a disproportionate share of its GDP from this sector relative to the nation due to high tech (semiconductors); 19.1 percent or three times the national share. These manufacturers provide an unusually large amount of added value to their products and invest heavily in research and development. 

Despite being a powerhouse of Oregon’s economy, our growth advantage relative to other states does not hinge on durable goods. Removing it from the equation across all states, Oregon’s GDP comes in at 2.9 percent; more than 1 percentage point faster than the nation and seventh fastest among all states. 

Subscribe to receive notification of new articles and publications from! Go to

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Vast Majority of Oregon Parents Work

Oregon’s civilian labor force includes almost 660,000 parents of children under 18. Working parents account for almost one-third of the state labor force, a similar percentage to the nation (32%). Parents of children under six years of age make up 14 percent of the state workforce, and those with children ages six to 17 years account for another 18 percent.

Parents are more likely to be working than people without children under 18. The participation rate for the Oregon population with no children under 18 is 57.0 percent, compared with 80.7 percent of parents with children under 18. This likely reflects an aging population and many retired people. Participation for teens and young adults has also been lower in recent years than in decades past.

For parents of children under six years of age, there’s a big difference in the labor force experiences of men versus women. Of the men in this group, 92.2 percent are in the labor force, compared with 63.0 percent of Oregon mothers of children under age six. The gender gap in labor force participation is reduced somewhat for parents of children ages six to 17. For men with children ages six to 17, the participation rate was 91.8 percent in 2016, and 78.7 percent of Oregon women with children in that age range were in the labor force.
Read the full article "For Oregon Parents, Working is the Norm" written by Employment Economist Jessica Nelson.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Reasons for Unemployment in Oregon

There are four major categories of the unemployed, based on a reason for unemployment:
  • Job losers, who are on temporary or permanent layoff 
  • Job leavers, who voluntarily left a job and immediately began to look for another 
  • Re-entrants, those who worked, left the labor force, and have begun a new job search 
  • New entrants, those who have never worked before and are now seeking employment. 
Job losers made up the largest share of Oregon’s 101,200 unemployed persons in 2016. Those who lost jobs accounted for 47,300 unemployed persons, or 47 percent of the total.

The share of the unemployed who are job leavers typically varies with the state of the economy. During recessions, fewer people voluntarily leave their jobs since fewer opportunities exist elsewhere. When the economy and labor demand are strong, more people are likely to quit their jobs because they are confident something better will come along. In 2013, as the jobs recovery was really just starting, job leavers accounted for 5 percent of the unemployed. In 2016, job leavers accounted for 12 percent of the total.

After making up a relatively small and fairly constant fraction of the total unemployed (4% to 9%), the number of new entrants to Oregon’s labor force increased to 14 percent of all unemployed persons in 2016. That’s not because the number of new entrants increased dramatically; rather, that’s because the number of job losers declined notably as the economy has improved.

Read the full article "Understanding Oregon’s Labor Force" written by Senior Economic Analyst Gail Krumenauer.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Twenty-Three Counties Had Low Historic Unemployment Rates in April

Twenty-three counties were at or tied with their historic low unemployment rates. Benton County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April at 2.8 percent. Grant County (6.9%) registered the highest rate for the month. This was the lowest unemployment rate for Grant County since comparable records began in 1990.

Ten of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 3.7 percent and 22 counties were at or below the national rate of 4.4 percent. Gilliam County saw its unemployment rate improve over the year by 3.1 percentage points, more than any other county.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all of Oregon’s six broad regions between April 2016 and April 2017. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+3.6%). Southern Oregon (+2.1%), the Willamette Valley (+2.0%), the Oregon Coast (+1.4%), Portland (+1.3%), and Eastern Oregon (+0.9%) also saw growth.

See the full labor force and unemployment by area press release in 36 counties and metropolitan areas in Oregon.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Oregon’s Leisure and Hospitality Industry

Leisure and hospitality businesses employed an average of 199,000 workers in 2016. The largest share, three-fourths, worked in food services and drinking places. The remaining employment was about evenly split between accommodations and arts, entertainment, and recreation. During the Great Recession, employment in this industry fell by 6.1 percent from 2008 to 2010. Oregon’s all-industry employment decline was slightly steeper, with payroll jobs declining by 7.4 percent from pre-recession peak to trough. By 2016, leisure and hospitality employment rose by 22.6 percent compared with a gain of 14.4 percent for total industry employment.

We often think of leisure and hospitality as a tourism industry. While many jobs in this industry are reliant upon tourism, local spending also plays a significant role. The Oregon Tourism Commission contracts Dean Runyan Associates to produce travel spending impact analysis for Oregon and other states. According to their latest Oregon Travel Impacts report, travel spending generated 69,000 direct jobs in the accommodations and food services sector and 19,100 direct jobs in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector in 2016.

In Oregon, there were just 119 leisure and hospitality establishments that had more than 100 workers at the beginning of 2016. Of Oregon’s 192,712 leisure and hospitality jobs in March 2016, 117,206 were employed in establishments with 10 to 49 workers.

For more information about Oregon's leisure and hospitality industry, see the full report.