Friday, July 19, 2019

More Than 40 Percent of Jobs Paid at Least $20.00 Per Hour in 2018

In 2018, the largest number of jobs was held by professional and business services (449,745 or 14.3% of the total jobs in Oregon). The leisure and hospitality industry ran not far behind, capturing 431,829 (13.8% of all) jobs that year. In terms of percent increase, that industry has rebounded more than any other (up 21.4%) since the recession a decade ago. Despite over-the-year gains, three broad industries – construction (down 3.5% from 2006), manufacturing (-5.1%), and financial activities (-8.6%) – have yet to regain all the jobs they lost during the recession.

The median hourly wage of jobs in all broad industries rose from $17.03 to $17.79 per hour in 2018 – a year-over-year increase of 4.5 percent, likely boosted by increases in the minimum wage. All individual broad industries saw their median wages increase. Leisure and hospitality recorded the largest over-the-year median wage increase, at 7.8 percent. The real (inflation-adjusted) change in median hourly wages are generally less impressive. They shrink the year-over-year all industries median hourly wage increase to 2.0 percent and leisure and hospitality’s increase to a still notable 5.2 percent.

Almost one-quarter (24.2%) of all 2018 jobs paid at least $30.00 per hour. Nearly 43 percent (1,349,020 jobs) paid at least $20.00 per hour; larger than the percentage (37.2%) that paid less than $15.00 per hour. All but the smallest hourly wage class posted job gains. The $15.00 to $19.99 category had the highest year-over-year percent increase in jobs at 12.0 percent. The latter increase is not surprising, given minimum wage increases and the concentration of job gains in professional and business services and leisure and hospitality. As of July 1, 2018, the lowest minimum wage in Oregon was $10.50 per hour. At the other end of the spectrum, the highest ($60.00 or more) wage class showed the second largest gain in numbers of jobs (11.0%). Nearly 10 percent of all jobs paid $50 or more per hour; the top two classes together also saw a 10 percent increase in number of jobs in 2018.

To learn more, read Special Projects Analyst Barbara Peniston's full article here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate 4.1 Percent in June

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in June, essentially unchanged from 4.2 percent in May. Oregon’s unemployment rate has been between 4.0 percent and 4.4 percent for 32 months, dating back to November 2016. The U.S. unemployment rate was little changed at 3.7 percent in June.

Oregon’s unemployment rate has been at or near record low levels for nearly three years. Of those unemployed in June, nearly half were either new or returning to the labor force. At 46.9 percent, the share of unemployed who were entrants was the highest since May 1999. Another 38.5 percent were unemployed due to a job loss. The remaining 14.7 percent had voluntarily left their previous job and were looking for work.

In June, Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 900 jobs. The jobs gain in June followed a revised loss of 200 jobs in May. Monthly gains for June were strongest in professional and business services, which added 1,200 jobs, and in manufacturing, which added 900 jobs. Two industries with large losses in June were leisure and hospitality (-1,000 jobs) and retail trade (-900 jobs). Other sectors were close to their usual seasonal pattern of job gains or losses for June.

Full press release is available here.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Long-Term Job Openings Fueled by Replacements

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 job openings each year through 2027.

At 12 percent, expected employment growth in Oregon from 2017 to 2027 is more than one and a half times the projected national growth rate of 7.4 percent. In some industries, the state is still making up for jobs lost during the Great Recession. In others, the jobs lost have already been regained.

Among the broad occupational groups, health care (+19%) and construction (+16%) top the list for fastest-growing by 2027. Service occupations (which include protective services, building and grounds cleaning, personal appearance workers, funeral service workers, and more) rank first in most job openings. Service occupations made up 18 percent of the jobs in 2017 and are projected to comprise 20 percent of the openings over the decade.

Over this period most job openings are projected due to the need to replace workers leaving their occupations. Nine out of 10 total job openings (2.4 million) are expected to be due to the need to replace workers who retire or otherwise leave their occupation, with the remaining openings due to new or expanding businesses. Replacements overshadow growth openings in all broad occupational categories.
To learn more, read the full article written by Projections Economist Felicia Bechtoldt. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Serving Up Summer Jobs

Oregon has been adding nearly 18,000 farm jobs and 56,000 nonfarm private-sector jobs from winter to summer for the past three years, making it fairly easy for teens and others to pick up a summer job. Industries adding many summer jobs in Oregon include agriculture, leisure and hospitality, construction, retail trade, and temporary help services. Popular occupations added in the summer include farmworkers, waiters and waitresses, construction laborers, cashiers, and groundskeepers.

Despite agriculture generating a far smaller share of jobs than it did historically, it is still the number one industry for creating summer jobs in Oregon. Over the past three years agriculture added an average of nearly 18,000 direct jobs from winter to summer (January-March versus July-September). Agriculture provides about 49,000 jobs in the winter, which means an employment increase of more than one-third from winter to summer. Farmworkers and laborers for crops, nurseries, and greenhouses is by far the most-common occupation in agriculture. Being a farmworker requires physical strength and mobility but doesn’t require extensive education or training. Accordingly, the occupation has few barriers to entry and usually pays a fairly low wage, about $13 per hour on average.

The nonfarm industry with the largest gain from winter to summer is usually accommodation and food services, which is part of the broader leisure and hospitality industry. The seasonal factor for this industry suggests that it should add nearly 16,000 jobs in the summer, and for the last three years the industry has added about 15,000 jobs each summer – so it is performing pretty much as expected. The most common occupations in the industry are waiters and waitresses, food preparation and serving workers, cooks, supervisors, bartenders, counter attendants, and maids and housekeeping cleaners.

Other industries that added the most summer jobs are construction (11,000 jobs added from winter to summer), administrative and waste services (6,400 jobs), and retail trade (6,000 jobs).

To learn more, read regional economist Erik Knoder's full article here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Oregon Businesses Report 51,600 Vacancies in Spring

Oregon’s private employers had 51,600 job vacancies in spring. That was 21 percent below the spring 2018 vacancy total of 65,100. This is the second consecutive quarter we’ve seen job vacancies at notably lower levels from the same time one year earlier. Still, spring 2019 vacancies remained slightly above the number of job openings in spring 2014 (46,900), when employment was growing at a similar rate as in recent months.
One category with an increase in vacancies over the past year included job vacancies requiring some education beyond high school but less than a bachelor’s degree. Oregon had roughly 12,700 vacancies with these postsecondary training or associate requirements in spring 2019, an increase of 1,400 (or 12%). Occupations with the most job openings in this group included registered nurses, truck drivers, nursing assistants, licensed practical and vocational nurses, private elementary school teachers, and dental assistants.

We take an interest in this group of vacancies for a few reasons. First, vacancies at these education levels may offer some career opportunities for job seekers on a relatively faster timeline than degree programs. Job openings with postsecondary training or associate requirements also paid an average starting wage of $24 per hour in spring, well above the $18 per hour average for all vacancies. The postsecondary training or associate degree job openings also had the highest share (82%) of difficult-to-fill vacancies by education category.
In addition to higher average starting wages, relatively less training, and higher likelihood of difficulty filling them, these vacancies are also making up a larger share of job openings in Oregon. During spring 2019, vacancies requiring something beyond high school but less than a four-year degree accounted for 26 percent of the total. That was 4 percentage points above the share in spring 2018 (22%), and 8 percentage points higher than spring 2017 (18%).

More information about job vacancies in Oregon can be found on the publications page of, or by contacting Senior Economic Analyst Gail Krumenauer.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

For Oregon Parents, Working Is the Norm

Oregon’s civilian labor force includes 697,000 parents of children under 18. Working parents account for 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 19 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 54.5 percent, compared with 84.0 percent of parents with children under 18. This likely reflects an aging population and an increasing number of retired people. Participation for teens and young adults has also been lower in recent years than in decades past.

Labor force participation of parents differs by gender and the age of children. 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, 93.1 percent are in the labor force, compared with 67.0 percent of Oregon mothers of children under age six. Oregon fathers in this group are slightly less likely to be in the labor force than the national average, and Oregon mothers of children under age six are slightly more likely to be in the labor force than the national average.

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 93.7 percent in 2018, and 83.3 percent of Oregon women with children in that age range were in the labor force. The participation rate of men with children ages six to 17 is slightly above the national rate (92.2%). Oregon women’s participation rate is nearly 7 percentage points above the national rate of 76.4 percent for women with children ages six to 17.

For people without children under 18, the genders behave far more similarly in their likelihood of labor force participation. Men in this group had a participation rate of 58.3 percent compared with the women’s participation rate of 50.7 percent.

To learn more, read employment economist Jessica Nelson's full article here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

May 2019 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

Benton County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 3.2 percent in May 2019. Other counties with some of the lowest unemployment rates in May included Washington (3.4%) and Hood River (3.5%). Only Benton, Washington, Hood River, and Multnomah counties had unemployment rates at or below the national rate of 3.6 percent. Eight of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates below the statewide rate of 4.2 percent.

Grant County registered the highest unemployment rate for the month at 7.8 percent. Other counties with some of the highest unemployment rates in May were Klamath (6.7%); and Wallowa, Lake, and Harney (6.3%). May 2019 unemployment rates for almost all of Oregon’s counties were similar to what they were in May 2018. Only Wheeler (+1.5%), Grant (+1.1%), and Gilliam (+1.0%) counties had unemployment rates change more than 1 percentage point over the past year.
Read the full press release here

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Oregon's Coffee Shops Continue to Perk Up

Employment and wage data are classified according to the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS, and coffee shops and stands are classified in the snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars industry. This industry includes other establishments serving items such as donuts, pretzels, ice cream, and frozen yogurt. In 2018, there were 1,370 establishments in this category with an annual average employment of 15,232. About half of these establishments were located in the Portland metro area (i.e., Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington, and Yamhill counties). Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars are a component of the larger food services and drinking places industry.

Though snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars is a small industry, comprising less than 1 percent of total statewide employment, it is a growing industry. Growth in both the number of establishments and employment in the industry has outpaced the average rate of growth for all industries. From 2001 to 2018, the industry’s employment more than doubled in Oregon, whereas total employment for all industries increased by 20 percent. Similarly, the number of establishments increased by 90 percent compared with 40 percent for all industries. Growth at snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars has also outpaced the larger food services and drinking places industry.
Coffee and tea manufacturing – an industry closely tied to coffee shops – relies on quality products to succeed. Though some coffeehouses roast their own beans, there are several coffee roasters throughout the state from Portland down to Ashland, and east in Sisters, Bend, and Pendleton. The coffee and tea manufacturing industry in the state has steadily increased from nine business units employing 440 individuals in 2001 to 75 units employing 1,192 in 2018. The average annual pay for the industry in 2018 was $46,333, which is higher than the average for coffee shops, but lower than the all-industry average.

To learn more, read workforce analyst Ainoura Oussenbec's full article here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.2 Percent in May

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in May, from 4.3 percent in April. Oregon’s unemployment rate has been between 4.0 percent and 4.4 percent for 31 months, dating back to November 2016. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in both April and May.

During this economic expansion, Oregon’s unemployment rate has been lower than at any time since comparable records began in 1976. The previous low was reached in January and February 1995 when Oregon’s rate touched 4.7 percent. In addition to the very low level of Oregon’s unemployment rate, it has been lower longer than ever before. Since the late-1970s, during the prior five economic expansions, the unemployment rate would generally drop to a bottom in the cycle and then start moving upward within a few months. In contrast, during the past three years, Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped down close to 4 percent, remaining near there for 31 consecutive months.

In May, Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment rose 1,200 jobs, following a gain of 4,000 jobs in April. Monthly gains for May were strongest in health care and social assistance, which added 900 jobs, and in construction and government, which each added 600 jobs. Two industries cut jobs modestly in May: private educational services (-500 jobs) and retail trade (-400 jobs).
Read the full press release here

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Truck Transportation in Oregon Holds Steady at 18,800 jobs in 2018

Oregon’s truck transportation industry leveled off in 2016, averaging 18,800 jobs, ending a six-year, post-Great Recession growth spurt. The industry’s employment held steady in both 2017 and 2018. At its 2006 pre-Great Recession peak, truck transportation averaged 19,700 jobs. Truck transportation hit bottom in 2010 with 16,500 jobs, leaving a gap of 3,200, or 16 percent, to fill.

Based on 2006 employment levels, Portland’s tri-county area comprised half of Oregon’s truck transportation industry. Moving forward to 2018, its share fell to 48 percent, a difference of about 600 jobs. On a regional basis, the tri-county Portland area experienced a deeper job loss, falling from 9,800 in 2006 to 7,900 in 2010, down 1,900 jobs or 19 percent. Outside the tri-county Portland area, truck transportation peaked at roughly the same level, with just over 9,700 jobs in 2006. But job losses were less severe, falling by around 1,300 or 14 percent to average 8,400 in 2010.

Oregon’s truck transportation industry started adding back jobs in 2011, with the tri-county Portland area reaching 9,100 jobs in 2018, an increase of 1,200. Outside Portland, the rest of Oregon performed considerably better, adding more than 1,400 jobs to reach 9,800 in 2016, an increase of 100 jobs over its 2006 peak. Employment outside Portland dropped slightly in 2017 and held steady in 2018 with 9,700 jobs or 52 percent of Oregon’s total.

To learn more, read the full article written by Regional Economist Dallas Fridley.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A Look Back at Minimum Wage Jobs in 2018

Note: Some of the figures originally published in this blog post were revised on June 17, 2019.

Between July 1, 2018 and July 1, 2019, Oregon’s minimum wages were $12.00 per hour within the Portland urban growth boundary, $10.75 standard, and $10.50 in nonurban counties. Roughly 7.3 percent of all jobs paid minimum wage or less in Oregon in the third quarter of 2018.

The share of jobs paying minimum wage ranged from a low of 3.5 percent in Morrow County (279 jobs) to a high of 12.4 percent in Harney County (331 jobs). Multnomah County had 40,240 minimum wage jobs, which made up 7.1 percent of total jobs in the county.

With a larger concentration of jobs, metro areas also have more minimum wage jobs. Among the metro area counties, Deschutes County had the lowest percentage of jobs (5.7%) paying minimum wage among metro counties, followed by Marion County (5.8%) and Benton County (6.4%). Clackamas County had the highest share of jobs paying minimum wage among metro counties at 10.2 percent.

Seventeen counties had a share of minimum wage jobs at or below the statewide share of 7.3 percent. The smallest shares were in Morrow County (3.5%), Hood River County (4.1%), Deschutes and Clatsop counties (5.7%), and Marion County (5.8%). 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 Harney (12.4%), Malheur (12.1%), Wheeler (11.8%), and Sherman (10.0%).
To learn more, read the full article written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Oregon's Minimum Wage Increases July 1, 2019

Oregon’s minimum wage increases on July 1, 2019, but the raises won’t be the same across the state. The minimum wage increases to $12.50 per hour inside the Portland urban growth boundary, $11.00 per hour in nonurban counties, and $11.25 in other areas of the state.

Oregon’s three minimum wages will be in the top nine state-level minimum wages in the nation. The highest minimum wage will be in the District of Columbia ($14.00), followed by Massachusetts and Washington ($12.00); Colorado and New York ($11.10); and Arizona, California, and Maine ($11.00). The federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per hour.

Oregon’s minimum wage levels were set by Senate Bill 1532 in 2016. The minimum wage increases on July 1 each year through 2022. There are three tiers of step increases based on geography. Beginning in 2023, minimum wage in all tiers will be adjusted for inflation. This means the minimum wage will maintain purchasing power after the last step increase in 2022.
To learn more, read the full article written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks

See our report Oregon’s Minimum Wage Jobs: Facts, Figures, and Context for historical information about Oregon’s minimum wage jobs.