Thursday, January 17, 2019

Employer-Provided Benefits in Oregon

Three-fourths (76%) of Oregon's private employers offered one or more health, retirement, leave, pay, or other benefits to employees in June 2018. More than half (59%) of all employers offered health benefits, while 51 percent offered retirement benefits. This findings come from a survey of more than 12,000 private employers conducted by the Employment Department, and summarized in the new report Employer-Provided Benefits: Offerings, Enrollment, and Rising Costs.

A few big themes emerged from the survey. First, larger shares of private employers offered benefits to full-time employees than part-time employees. This was true across the board. While about six out of 10 employers offered health benefits to full-time employees, just one out of 10 extended the offering to part-time employees. Half of all private employers offered retirement benefits to full-time employees, while 23 percent offered them to part-time employees.

Second, as a firm's size class increased, so did the likelihood of offering benefits. The most common benefit offerings in June 2018 included health benefits, retirement benefits, paid holidays, paid vacation, unpaid leave, and annual pay raises. The share of mid-sized employers (10 to 49 payroll employees in Oregon) generally reflected the overall trend for benefit offerings. Shares of the smallest employers (2 to 9 employees) and largest employers (50+ employees) offering these benefits showed great disparity though. The biggest differences occurred in overall health and retirement offerings, where the share of the largest employers extending benefits exceeded the smallest employers by more than 50 percentage points.

Another notable trend Oregon employers detailed was the high cost of providing health benefits. When employers with health benefits were asked to describe the most important effects on their business and workforce over the past year, two-thirds (67%) mentioned the high/higher/increasing costs of health care. In addition, almost three-fourths (73%) of employers with health benefit offerings noted that the total cost of their plan increased over the past year.

More information about employer-provided benefits, both regionally and statewide, can be found at Check out our interactive graphs and benefits podcast too!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Rises to 4.1 Percent in December

Oregon’s unemployment rate rose to 4.1 percent in December from 3.9 percent in November. Oregon’s unemployment rate has been close to 4 percent for the past two years. The U.S. unemployment rate also edged up two-tenths of a percentage point, to 3.9 percent in December from 3.7 percent in November.

In December, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment grew by 300 jobs, following a revised gain of 300 jobs in November. These two months of nearly flat employment trends followed four months of fairly rapid job gains that averaged 3,700 per month during July through October. In December, leisure and hospitality added 1,600 jobs, health care and social assistance added 1,000, and government added 900. The industries declining the most in December were professional and business services, which dropped by 1,900 jobs, and retail trade, which cut 1,500 jobs. 

The federal government shutdown did not impact Oregon’s December federal government jobs tally.

Read the full press release here

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Shutdown Impacts 9,600 Federal Jobs in Oregon

Roughly 9,600 jobs in Oregon are at federal agencies that are not currently funded and are affected by the partial federal government shutdown.

Some of these workers have already been furloughed. Others have funding to cover operations for a few more days. Excepted personnel are still working even though funding for their paychecks has not been appropriated. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, this includes employees who are performing emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property, or performing certain other types of excepted work.

These figures are based on a March 2018 count of jobs at federal establishments that do not have current funding. The number of jobs at these agencies totaled 9,583. Of these jobs, 6,632 are located in urban counties and 2,809 jobs are in rural counties (the rest are multi-county or unknown). The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management account for nearly half (45%) of the jobs without current appropriations.

Federal contractors in Oregon may also be affected by the shutdown, but we don’t have a way to directly measure that impact.

The 2013 full federal government shutdown lasted two weeks. It wasn’t long enough to have a noticeable impact on the jobs figures or the unemployment rate. More than 500 federal workers in Oregon filed unemployment insurance claims during that shutdown.

In total, there are about 28,000 federal employees in Oregon, but two-thirds work in agencies that have funding and are not directly affected by the shutdown. This includes the U.S. Postal Service, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Labor.

The number of jobs by county and by federal agency are available upon request. Please contact Nick Beleiciks for this information. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Oregon's Youth and Young Adult Labor Force Participation Trends

For more than two decades, the labor force participation rate (LFPR) - the percentage of the civilian non-institutionalized population that is either employed or unemployed - for Oregon's youth and young adult population has been on a general downward trend. The LFPR for people between the ages of 16 and 24 years dropped from a peak of 72.9 percent in 1996 to 54.2 in 2015, a considerable decline in workforce participation over that time period to the lowest annual percentage since comparable records began in 1978. Although the LFPR for this age group increased in 2016 to 54.9 percent and to 60.6 in 2017, the series remains at low levels relative to the years prior to 2000.

The LFPR for Oregon's youth (ages 16 to 19 years) declined more dramatically than for Oregon's young adults (ages 20 to 24 years). The LFPR for Oregon's young adults peaked in 1996 at 83.2 percent, and then generally declined to a record low of 71.0 percent in 2013. Having since increased to 74.4 percent in 2017, the LFPR for Oregon's young adults is higher than it was in 2013, although lower than it was two decades ago.

The LFPR for Oregon's youth peaked much earlier than for young adults, at 63.7 in 1989. Since reaching this peak in 1989, the LFPR for people ages 16 to 19 years has generally declined each year, falling by close to 30.0 percentage points from 1989 to a historical low of 33.5 percent in 2015. Like the LFPR for Oregon's young adults, the LFPR for ages 16 to 19 years has increased over the last few years to 40.4 percent in 2017. Despite the recent increase, the current LFPR remains well below the 1989 peak.

To learn more about the labor force participation rate of Oregon's youth and young adults, read the full article written by Local Area Unemployment Statistics Coordinator, Tracy Morrissette

Monday, December 31, 2018

Occupations with the Most Jobs Paying Less Than $12.00 per Hour

Oregon’s minimum wage levels were set by Senate Bill 1532 in 2016. The minimum wage increases on July 1st of each year through 2022. There are three tiers of step increases based on geography.

Oregon’s most recent minimum wage increase came on July 1, 2018, but the raises weren’t the same across the state. Minimum wage increased to $12.00 per hour inside the Portland urban growth boundary, $10.50 per hour in non-urban counties, and $10.75 in other areas of the state.

Minimum wage jobs are more common in some types of work. There are around 361,300 jobs in Oregon that pay $12.00 per hour or less. This represents 20 percent of all Oregon jobs.

Two occupations employ more than 30,000 workers with wages below $12.00 per hour: retail salespersons and cashiers. Food preparation and serving workers, along with waiters and waitresses, each have more than 20,000 workers with wages below $12.00. Dishwashers have the largest percentage of their total occupational employment making $12.00 per hour or less, with 78 percent of the jobs in this occupation below the threshold.
This article was written by Economist Anna Johnson

Thursday, December 27, 2018

November 2018 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

Benton County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 3.3 percent in November 2018. Other counties with some of the lowest unemployment rates in November included Hood River (3.4%), Washington (3.4%), and Multnomah (3.6%). 

Seven of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide unemployment rate of 3.9 percent and four were at or below the national rate of 3.7 percent. Eastern and Southern Oregon had higher unemployment rates in November 2018, which were still close to their record low unemployment rates since 1990. 
Grant County registered the highest unemployment rate for the month at 7.1 percent, which was 1 percentage higher than Grant’s lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1990. Harney County’s unemployment rate improved over the year by 0.7 percentage point, more than any other county.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all six of Oregon’s broad regions between November 2017 and November 2018. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+2.3%). The Willamette Valley (+1.9%), Southern Oregon (+1.4%), the Portland area (+1.3%), the Oregon Coast (+0.8%), and Eastern Oregon (+0.7%) also added jobs.

Press releases for all Oregon areas are available here. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Employment in the Automotive Repair and Maintenance Industry Remains Lower than the Pre-Recession Peak

About 3.1 million Oregonians held a driver’s license in Oregon in 2018 and the state had more than 4.1 million registered vehicles. That doesn’t include vehicles registered elsewhere that travel into the state. That’s a lot of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and motor homes on the road with the potential to break down and need some kind of servicing or require regularly scheduled preventative maintenance.

Automotive repair and maintenance was one of many industries that were unable to escape the recession from 2007 to 2009. From peak employment in 2007 to 2017, this industry lost 2.5 percent of jobs in the private sector, while total payroll employment in Oregon’s private sector saw a job gain of 9.6 percent. In 2007, the industry employed about 12,800 workers. By 2017, employment stood at about 12,400 workers. The industry experienced a post-recession low in 2010 with 10,800 jobs. Since then, employment has increased 14.9 percent.

The automotive repair and maintenance industry has not kept pace with job growth in the general economy since 2001. Prior to the recession, employment in Oregon’s private sector grew about three times as fast as the automotive repair and maintenance industry. During the recession, the automotive repair and maintenance industry saw a larger employment decline (-12.6%) than Oregon’s private sector (-8.7%). During the post-recession recovery, the private sector grew faster than the industry, 21.1 percent compared with 14.9 percent.
Read more about the automotive repair and maintenance industry in the article written by Workforce Analyst Sarah Cunningham

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Was 3.9 Percent in November

Oregon’s unemployment rate edged up to 3.9 percent in November from 3.8 percent in October. Oregon’s unemployment rate has been close to 4 percent for the past two years. The U.S. unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent in both October and November.

In November, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment grew by 2,400 jobs, following a revised gain of 4,300 jobs in October. In November, professional and business services added 3,300 jobs and government added 700. Wholesale trade cut 900 jobs. No other major industry registered an over-the-month change of more than 600 jobs.

Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment increased by 36,600 jobs, or 1.9 percent, since November 2017. In that time, construction remained the fastest growing industry, with a gain of 7,700 jobs, or 7.7 percent. Professional and business services also grew rapidly, adding 8,200 jobs, or 3.3 percent. Health care and social assistance added 4,700 jobs, or 2.0 percent. However, several of Oregon’s major industries slowed recently. Leisure and hospitality (+1,500 jobs, or 0.7%) expanded at less than half the rate of overall employment. And two industries declined over the year: retail trade (-400 jobs, or -0.2%) and private educational services (-300 jobs, or -0.8%). 

Read the full press release here

Friday, December 14, 2018

Oregon Christmas Trees Create Jobs During the Holiday Season

Oregon is the number one Christmas tree producing state in the nation, according to data from the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association, with roughly $90 million in wholesale sales and 5.2 million trees harvested in 2016. Most of the harvested trees are either Douglas fir (32%) or Noble fir (54%). This year, the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree, an 82-foot-tall noble fir, came from Oregon’s Willamette National Forest.

We can get an estimate of payroll, or “covered” employment by matching company names from licenses with records from the Oregon Employment Department’s Unemployment Insurance program. There were 42 matches.

In 2017, covered employment grew into the spring and summer and then spiked with the harvest in November at roughly 1,300 workers. Annual average employment was 469 and annual average pay was $32,969.

Obviously, many growers are sole proprietors or family farms that have little or no payroll employment and are not required to report to the Unemployment Insurance program. Many of the growers tend the trees and then hire temporary workers for harvest or contract out the harvest. With more than 300 growers not included in the covered employment estimate, it is likely that hundreds, if not thousands, more are employed during the harvest on a contract or temporary worker basis.
This article was written by Lane County Regional Economist Brian Rooney

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Oregon’s Forest Sector

Forest sector-related employment in Oregon totaled 61,100 in 2017, which accounted for 3 percent of Oregon’s workforce. Forest-related jobs paid relatively well, with an annual average wage of $54,200, roughly 6 percent more than $51,100 for all jobs covered by unemployment insurance in 2017.

Oregon’s forest sector falls into five major categories: primary forest products; secondary forest products; forest management; forestry support; and forestry-dependent industries. Primary forest products made up one-third of the forest sector total with 19,300 jobs and 600 nonemployers. Within primary forest products, sawmills, paper manufacturing, and softwood veneer and plywood manufacturing accounted for three-fourths of all jobs.

Forestry support accounted for another 22 percent of forest sector employment, with 11,200 jobs and 2,000 reported nonemployers. Of those, more than half (55%) were found in private logging. Support activities for forestry – which includes establishments engaged in forestry economics, forest firefighting, and estimating timber, among other things – made up roughly another one-third (36%) of employment in this category. Similar to primary forest products and forestry support, Oregon’s 11,700 jobs and 500 nonemployers in secondary forest products were concentrated into a couple of industries: millwork (44%), and wood kitchen cabinets and countertops (30%).

Unlike other categories of forest sector employment, the majority of Oregon’s 6,900 forestry management jobs were found in government. Timber tract operations mostly consisted of jobs at the U.S. Forest Service. The other large forestry management industry was administration of conservation programs, which mostly included jobs at the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Forestry, and in the administration portion of the U.S. Forest Service. The largest source of private employment in forestry management was in corporate offices of forest sector-related firms with most of their employment in other categories.

Learn more about Oregon's forestry sector in the full article written by Senior Economic Analyst Gail Krumenauer

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Oregon Careers 2019: Available at No Cost!

We have recently released our Oregon Careers 2019 magazine aimed at the career planning needs of students. It contains information about how to select and prepare for a career. You can order hard copies of this magazine in English at no charge by filling an order form at

The Spanish edition, Carreras en Oregon 2019, will be available online in early 2019 in the “Careers” section of

Careers magazine has an Activity Guide and a Teacher's Guide to the Activity Guide. The Activity Guide is an excellent tool to help students explore the magazine. It contains activities and exercises tied to sections in the magazine. The Teacher's Guide contains the answers to the exercises in the Activity Guide. The new 2019 versions will be available soon.

To learn more about other publications you can order, click on and see the "Posters & Brochures", "Occupations in Demand", and "STEM" sections.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Fruit of the Vine: Oregon’s Grape and Wine Industry

As Oregon businesses struggled during the Great Recession (2007-2009) and the years to follow, the state’s grape and wine industry flourished. In 2007, there were 792 vineyards and 351 permitted or bonded wineries in the state; by 2009, that number had grown to 835 vineyards and 377 wineries. This growth has accelerated during the post-recessionary period, and by 2017, there were 1,144 vineyards and 769 Oregon wineries, of which 709 were permitted or bonded. Wine grapes ranked ninth on Oregon’s top 20 commodities list for 2017, valued at $171.7 million.

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) records counted 108 firms. For those 108 reporting vineyards, OED records showed an annual average employment of 1,179 with an annual average wage of $29,855. It should be noted that given the seasonal nature of growing, tending, and harvesting wine grapes, growers often use contract and migratory workers, who are not reported under the UI system. Thus, actual vineyard employment could be much higher.

As with vineyard employment data, OED records reflect only those enterprises participating in the UI program. In 2001, OED reported 65 wineries; by 2017, that number had increased to 329 – an increase of roughly 21 wineries per year. Between 2007 and 2009, the depths of the Great Recession, the number of reporting wineries increased from 144 to 170. Total payroll in Oregon’s wineries in 2017 was $110.7 million with an annual average wage of $34,997 (like vineyards, this includes seasonal and part-time workers).
To learn more about the grape and wine industry in Oregon, read Regional Economist Annette Shelton-Tiderman's full article