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Thursday, February 18, 2021

African Americans in Oregon: A Labor Market Perspective

According to the Oregon Encyclopedia, “Oregon's racial makeup has been shaped by three black exclusion laws that were in place during much of the region's early history. These laws, all later rescinded, largely succeeded in their aim of discouraging free blacks from settling in Oregon early on, ensuring that Oregon would develop as primarily white.” 

Though only a small share of the state’s population, Oregon’s Black population is diverse, young, and has grown quickly over the last 10 years. Black Oregonians have achieved higher levels of educational attainment over the past decade and have experienced better economic outcomes including higher labor force participation, lower unemployment rates, and higher earnings. However, large disparities in labor market outcomes between Black people and all in Oregon persist and may worsen in the short term during the COVID-19 pandemic recession, as research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco shows that relative labor market outcomes for Black people improve under tight labor market conditions and worsen during recessions. Here, we will take a look at relative employment outcomes for Oregon's Black residents over the past decade from 2010 to 2019. 

Labor Market Outcomes

The Black population’s labor force participation rate has increased to become higher than for the state’s overall population, driven in part by increased levels of educational attainment in the Black community and overall improving labor market conditions. However, Black Oregonians continue to suffer from a significantly higher unemployment rate at 9.0% compared to 5.5% for all in Oregon’s labor force on average from 2015 to 2019.

Achieving higher levels of educational attainment may help Black people improve their individual employment outcomes, but national data show that Black people still face unemployment rates nearly twice as high compared with all in the labor force across all levels of educational attainment.

Along with improving educational attainment, unemployment and labor force participation rates, real average annual wages for Black workers in Oregon have increased by 18.1% over the decade to $47,500 in 2019. The rate of growth has been faster than the 14.6% wage growth that was experienced across all workers during this period. Nevertheless, average annual earnings for Black workers were 15.0% lower (or $8,412) than earnings for all workers as of 2019.


Wage gaps between Black workers and all others are persistent across all levels of educational attainment for full-time, year-round workers over the age of 25. The largest wage gap occurs at the highest end of the educational attainment spectrum, with Black workers in Oregon with advanced or professional degrees earning median wages roughly $12,000 less than their equally educated peers from 2015 to 2019. Black workers with some college or an associate degree statewide earned essentially the same median wage ($37,000) as workers of all others combined with a high school diploma or equivalent ($40,000). Oregon’s broad trends are consistent with national-level data, with the Black workers earning lower median annual wages ranging from $2,700 less for those with less than a high school diploma to $17,000 less for those with an advanced or professional degree compared with all other workers with the same levels of educational attainment nationally.


Wages consistently increase along with educational attainment for both groups of workers nationally and statewide. Black workers in Oregon with some college or an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, and an advanced or professional degree earned a median wage of $37,000, $56,000, and $68,000 respectively from 2015 to 2019. Median annual wages were $19,000 (51%) higher for Black workers with a bachelor’s degree compared to those with some college or an associate degree.

Factors like age, gender, and occupation are hard to control for in Oregon due to sample size limitations that affect data reliability, but national data show that none of these factors can completely explain why an earnings gap exists. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis explains in a study of their own labor market that, “Unequal labor market outcomes are not a consequence of the labor market alone but also reflect the institutionalization of systemic racism through less opportunity in education, housing, location, and the criminal justice system.”

Eradicating economic disparities between marginalized groups of people will increase the U.S.’s overall economic output and improve the lives of individuals and familiesTo keep moving forward towards better economic outcomes, a combination of individual and policy-level efforts are necessary. Individuals can increase their earnings and decrease their likelihood of becoming unemployed through education and training efforts. Key federal agencies such as the Federal Reserve Bank of America can act in ways that promote economic recovery and expansion for longer periods of time, and state and local government can ensure their policies are inclusive of everyone in their communities. Businesses also have a role to play by examining and improving their policies related to the hiring, retention, and promotion of workers. 

To learn more, read economist Sarah Cunningham's article here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Multi-Modal: Transportation and Warehousing in Oregon

The transportation and warehousing sector includes many modes of travel, in addition to the mail and deliveries that come to our doors. During the pandemic recession, years of gains in some types of transportation were reversed, as staying home became the norm. At the same time, the pandemic intensified what was already an increasing reliance on deliveries and the distribution system that gets them to us. As a result, this broad sector’s employment is surging, in stark contrast to the slow overall employment recovery from the pandemic recession.

By Air
Not all portions of transportation and warehousing have seen their employment soar. After adding nearly 1,700 jobs between 2013 and 2019, air transportation lost 600 (-11%) jobs through the first three quarters of 2020. The airlines classified in this subsector have struggled through the pandemic. Similarly, support services for transportation -- which includes airports -- declined by 9% between 2019 and the first three quarters of 2020.

Over the Road
For now, truck transportation remains the largest piece of the overall transportation and warehousing sector. Its employment has seen little change in recent years, but did decline by 3% to an average of 18,400 jobs between 2019 and the first three quarters of 2020.

By comparison, the transit and ground transportation subsector saw much more job movement over the years. After growing from 9,900 jobs to 12,300 (24%) between 2009 and 2019, transit and ground transportation fell to an average of 10,600 jobs (-13%) in the first three quarters of 2020.

While there was undoubtedly decline in these operations due to reduced travel, the available data can’t fully represent the trends in this industry. That’s because ride-hailing and gig-type food delivery services are not included in covered employment statistics. The nonemployer statistics related to transit and ground passenger transportation show an increase of 10,000 (or 774%) from 2009 to 2018. Nearly all that growth occurred in taxi and limousine services.

More to Your Door
Two subsectors of transportation and warehousing carry correspondence, care packages, and other deliveries door to door: couriers and messengers, and the postal service. For years, the private couriers and messengers subsector has shown a distinctive and increasing seasonal pattern. They tend to ramp up hiring in the fourth quarter, hitting an employment peak each December.

In addition to more December deliveries, couriers and messengers businesses have also been hiring to meet greater demand for online shopping and deliveries to our doors year round. From 2009 to 2019, annual average employment grew by 4,300 jobs, or 69%. The global pandemic intensified this trend. Fleets of big brown trucks, gray vans, local grocers, and their counterparts collectively added 1,500 jobs (14%) between 2019 and the first three quarters of 2020.

Warehousing and Storage
While the gray vans, brown trucks, and mail carriers give visuals in the neighborhood, they’re fueled by rapid growth in the warehousing and storage subsector. Just between 2018 and the first three quarters of 2020, employment grew by 8,200 jobs to 18,100. That’s an 82% increase and does not yet include the peak holiday delivery season for 2020. While the big, public announcements of new Amazon operations play a role here, big box stores with warehousing and storage operations have grown recently too.

Given the continued growth of e-commerce, particularly during the holidays, and the expanding presence of Amazon in Oregon and elsewhere, the 2019 to 2029 growth outlook for both couriers and messengers (22%) and warehousing and storage (27%) is strong. By comparison, Oregon’s anticipated total employment growth will be 9%.  

More information about Oregon's transportation and warehousing industry can be found in the full article.


Monday, February 8, 2021

Suffering from COVID: Results from the U.S. Census Small Business Pulse Survey

In early 2021, nearly a third of Oregon businesses continued to report large negative effects on their businesses from the Coronavirus pandemic. Many businesses are operating at reduced capacity compared with one year ago, with capacity most often limited by physical distancing requirements and availability of supplies and inputs. Almost half of Oregon respondents to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey during the week of January 4, 2021 through January 10, 2021 reported an expectation that it will take an additional six months or more to get back to business as usual.

This weekly survey of businesses employing between one and 499 workers has been conducted in three phases of data collection so far, with phase 3 ending with the week of January 4, 2021 through January 10, 2021. These weekly figures show Oregon businesses slightly worse off than the national average for many questions in the survey, which lines up with the rapid onset and long duration of closures and restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon. But overall, Oregon’s responses weren’t far from the national average, and in many cases the estimates weren’t statistically different for Oregon, due to the much smaller sample and thus larger error ranges for state level data

In addition to the 31% of Oregon businesses reporting large negative effects of Coronavirus, another 43% reported moderate negative effects on their business. More than one out of five businesses reported the pandemic had little effect on their business. A small share reported positive effects from the pandemic, and that share was smaller in Oregon than nationally. Sectors most often reporting large negative effects, as of early January, included accommodation and food services; arts, entertainment, and recreation; and private educational services.

The share of Oregon businesses reporting large negative effects of Coronavirus peaked early in the survey, reaching 47% in the first week, April 26, 2020 through May 2, 2020. Nearly nine out of 10 Oregon businesses reported large or moderate negative effects of the pandemic during the first four weeks of phase 1, with businesses reporting moderate effects quickly overtaking those reporting large negative effects. In the summer, reports of negative effects dropped to about 75% of businesses, and the results have stayed pretty consistent since then.

Looking to the Future

As Oregon businesses look to the future, elevated spread of the virus and continued physical distancing required to contain it as vaccines roll out have many tempering their expectations. The weekly pulse survey asks, “In your opinion, how much time do you think will pass before this business returns to its normal level of operations relative to one year ago?”

As of the week of January 4 to January 10, about half of businesses responded that they believe it will be another six months or more, in Oregon and the U.S. Some businesses (20%) reported the pandemic had little effect on their business, and just 7% said business had already returned to a normal level of operations. Two percent of Oregon businesses responded that the surveyed establishment had permanently closed, evidence of the tightrope many businesses are currently walking as they try to stay afloat and wait out the pandemic.

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Employee Tenure Averages Four Years

How long do workers stay in a given job? Nationally, the average employee tenure in January 2020 was 4.1 years. Data to address this question isn’t available for Oregon, but every two years the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes this information for the nation.

Data back to 2006 show little variation – job tenure has been fairly consistent over the last decade plus. A slight peak was reached in the January 2012 results, which is probably the effect of workers staying longer in the jobs they held – if they managed to hang on to them – when the nation entered the Great Recession, which lasted from late 2007 to the middle of 2009.


Public-sector workers tend to stay in their jobs longer than the average in the much larger private-sector workforce. The January 2020 median tenure for public-sector workers was 6.5 years, compared with 3.7 years among workers in the private sector.

Other facts about employee tenure as of January 2020:
  • Workers age 55 and older have the longest tenure out of any age group at around 10 years.
  • Median tenure was similar for men and women at 4.3 and 3.9 years, respectively.
  • Tenure was similar across education levels, with median tenure ranging from 4.6 years for those with less than a high school diploma to 5.5 years for those with a doctoral or professional degree.
To learn more, read economist Jessica Nelson's full article here

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

December 2020 Employment and Unemployment in Oregon’s Counties

In December 2020, 27 out of 36 of Oregon’s counties experienced over-the-month increases in their unemployment rates. Oregon’s unemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage point between November and December, and eight of Oregon’s counties followed the state with a loss of 0.4 percentage point or more. 

Deschutes County saw the largest over-the-month increase, jumping from 6.7% in November to 7.6% in December. Lincoln County had Oregon’s highest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December at 7.7%. Other counties with some of the highest unemployment rates included Crook (7.6%), Deschutes (7.6%), and Grant (7.5%). 

Wheeler County registered the lowest unemployment rate for the month at 4.2%. Other counties with some of the lowest unemployment rates in December were Benton (4.3%) and Sherman (4.4%). Twenty-six counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 6.4%. Twenty-seven counties also had unemployment rates at or below the nationwide rate of 6.7%.



Total nonfarm payroll employment declined in all six of Oregon’s broad regions between December 2019 and December 2020. The largest job losses occurred in the Portland-5 (-10.8%). The Coast (- 8.8%), Willamette Valley (-8.5%), and Central Oregon (-7.0%) also experienced large over-the-year employment losses. Southern Oregon and Eastern Oregon came in at -5.2% and -3.2%, respectively.

Next News Releases

The Oregon Employment Department will release statewide unemployment rate and industry employment data for January 2021 on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. The January 2021 county and metropolitan area unemployment rates will be released on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. 

Read the original press release here

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Oregon’s Coffee Shops

Coffee shops throughout Oregon provide customers with their daily coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, and other drinks that help wake them up in the morning and keep them awake throughout the day. According to the National Coffee Association of the USA (NCA), which has tracked coffee consumption through annual surveys since 1950, 83% of Americans 18 years and older say they drink coffee and 64% drink it daily. With such a large majority of Americans drinking coffee, it’s no surprise to find several coffee establishments in cities throughout the state, and sometimes multiple shops on the same block.

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 2019, there were 1,575 establishments in this category with an annual average employment of 16,131. About half of these establishments were located in the Portland metro area (i.e., Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington, and Yamhill counties). While 2020 annual employment data is not yet available, the number of establishments dropped to an average 1,465 and employment dropped to 12,300 over of the months of April, May, and June 2020 as businesses struggled due to COVID-19 related business restrictions.


Though snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars is a small industry, comprising less than 1% of total statewide employment, it has seen consistent growth from 2010 through 2019. 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 2019, the industry’s employment more than doubled in Oregon, whereas total employment for all industries increased by 22%. Similarly, the number of establishments increased by 118% compared with 56% for all industries. Growth at snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars has also outpaced the larger food services and drinking places industry. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has halted industry growth in this sector, with second quarter 2020 employment levels 24% below levels during the same period in 2019 at 12,300.

Oregonians not only love drinking coffee, we love roasting it too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oregon has the second highest number of coffee and tea manufacturing establishments in the nation after California and the second highest location quotient for average annual employment in the sector after Hawaii. 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 steadily increased from nine business units employing 440 individuals in 2001 to 82 units employing 1,159 in 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of coffee and tea manufacturing establishments dropped slightly to 80 in second quarter 2020. Employment in the sector dropped by 13% compared with second quarter 2019 to 1,002 jobs.
To learn more about Oregon's coffee shops and roasters, read economist Sarah Cunningham's full article here

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Oregon's Nonfarm Payrolls Shed 25,500 Jobs in December

Oregon lost 25,500 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate rose to 6.4%. Oregon closed out 2020 having added back 37% of the 285,000 jobs we lost in the spring. Job losses also occurred nationally (-140,000) in December, and the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 6.7%. The U.S. has regained 56% of jobs lost in the COVID-19 recession.

Three sectors in Oregon topped the list in terms of most jobs added in December, with a gain of 2,200 each:
  • Transportation, warehousing, and utilities growth reflected a surge in holiday hiring, and heightened pandemic demand, for package deliveries and the associated distribution system that gets them to your door. 
  • Retail trade also saw a seasonal shopping bump.
  • Private health care and social assistance has generally been back on its long-run growth trend, although it remains 9,600 jobs below February 2020.

Sectors with the largest monthly declines in December: 

Leisure and hospitality took the brunt of the losses. As of November, the sector had regained half (56,400) the 110,500 jobs lost in the spring. Roughly half of those recovered jobs were lost in December (-28,600). Leisure and hospitality consists of two parts:

  • Accommodation and food services (restaurants and bars), which shed 24,800 jobs over the month.
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation employers dropped 3,800 jobs over the month. This portion of leisure and hospitality is now at a lower employment level than it was in April, the point from which overall employment began to recover.

Private education services declined by 1,700 jobs in December, and is also below its April employment level. Local government employment (half of which is K-12 or higher education) also continued to decline in December, dropping by 1,100 jobs. Local government now has fewer jobs than it did in April, and is 27,500 jobs below its December 2019 level.

One bright spot in a dismal jobs year: 

Transportation, warehousing, and utilities was the only broad sector of the economy that added jobs between December 2019 and December 2020. Its impressive 8.1% rate of growth (+6,000 jobs) would be extraordinary even during an economic expansion, and remains a sharp contrast to the rest of Oregon’s labor market in 2020.

More details about Oregon's December employment situation can be found in the full news release and video summary.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Fall 2020 Hiring Among Oregon Private Employers

Each quarter, the Oregon Employment Department surveys private employers from all industries and areas of the state to ask about the job vacancies they are actively trying to fill. Oregon businesses reported 54,700 vacancies in fall 2020. Total job openings increased from the level last fall (+7%). The level of job vacancies in the fall was back to the levels seen before major disruption due to COVID-19 in the spring.

Most openings in the fall were for full-time, permanent positions. Health care and social assistance topped the industry list in fall, with 10,600 vacancies. This has been the sector with the most vacancies 18 of the past 20 quarters. Retail trade had 8,600 vacancies and construction had 6,000 in fall.


The average starting wage reported in fall was $17.47, a decrease of 9% from the average in fall 2019. Total vacancies were up 7% from the level last fall, and the number of vacancies offering a starting wage below $15 per hour increased 5%. The number of vacancies offering $15 per hour to $24.99 per hour increased 1%, and most significantly vacancies paying above $25 per hour dropped by 35%. 

Together, the increase in the total number of vacancies and the decrease in the average wage over the last year indicates that, as of fall, we were seeing some low-wage job recovery. This is likely because the majority of jobs lost in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions, had more impact on low-wage jobs. As restrictions around the pandemic change, hiring demand still exists for these jobs.

More details about Oregon Job Vacancies are available in the article by Senior Economic Analyst Anna Johnson and on QualityInfo.org, on the publications page under Job Vacancy Survey.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Oregon's Manufacturing Specialities

Manufacturing has a slightly larger than average footprint in Oregon (10.2% of employment compared with 8.5% nationally) and, despite relatively steeper losses leading up to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, is growing more quickly over the long run than the nation. Since its lowest employment level in March 2010, manufacturing employment in Oregon has grown by 12.0% compared with the nation’s 7.0%. Long-term growth in Oregon's manufacturing sector is projected to continue, with 5% growth expected between 2019 and 2029.

Computer and electronic components manufacturing comprises nearly 20% of the sector statewide compared with roughly 8% of national manufacturing employment. Wood product manufacturing also has a strong presence in Oregon, making up 12% of sector employment compared with 3% of the sector nationally.

A more detailed industry analysis shows just how diverse Oregon's manufacturing sector is. The largest detailed industry by far is the semiconductor and electronic components industry (30,400 jobs in 2019). It also pays far more on average than any other manufacturing industry at $149,300 compared with $71,400 across all manufacturing sectors.

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 (9,000 jobs) and sawmills and wood preservation (6,200 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.

As more and more Oregon wines and beers hit shelves around the country and world, the winery and brewery industries are thrust into the spotlight. Both of these industries in Oregon have sizeable employment. Employment in wineries has risen steadily over the years, and is highly seasonal, due to employment spikes around harvest time. Brewery employment has skyrocketed in recent years as the craft beer industry has boomed. Oregon’s wineries and breweries pay relatively lower wages than the all-industry average at $37,000 and $41,000, respectively.

Oregon's manufacturing sector has a unique makeup, comprises a larger share of employment statewide than it does nationally, and is growing faster than the U.S. over the long-term. Long-term growth is projected to continue, with 5% growth projected between 2019 and 2029. 

To learn more about Oregon's manufacturing sector, read economist Sarah Cunningham's full article here

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Pandemic Enrollment Declines at Oregon Community Colleges

Enrollment at Oregon higher education institutions declined in fall 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s economic fallout. The enrollment drop affected community colleges much more significantly, declining 23% since fall 2019. Every Oregon community college had a lower headcount compared with last year, as of the fourth week of fall term. Most state universities also saw declines, with university enrollment down about 4% statewide. In addition to the continuing effects of COVID-19, September’s disastrous wildfires likely affected fall enrollment; some of the largest declines in fall enrollment occurred at institutions close to blazes that continued to threaten communities and fill the skies with smoke as the fall term got underway.

Community college headcount enrollment has been declining for some time, but the plunge this fall was a significant acceleration of that trend. The total student full-time equivalent (FTE) at Oregon community colleges dropped 19% between fall 2019 and fall 2020. This measure sums the total clock hours in which all students are enrolled, divided by 510 for a full-time equivalent. It, too, has been on a slow downward trajectory, with a sharper decline in fall 2020.

Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Meerah Powell reported new details from the Oregon Community College Association (OCCA), showing that the enrollment decline is largely centered in reduced enrollment in career and technical education programs (-25%) and adult basic skills programs (-48%) like GED preparation or English as a second language. “We’re also seeing that with communities of color and systemically marginalized communities in particular, (they’re) not able to access a community college right now,” OCCA Deputy Director John Wykoff said at a recent HECC meeting. While enrollment has dropped across racial and ethnic groups, the steepest declines appeared among Hispanic and Latino students, whose share of enrollment dropped by 1.0 percentage point, and white students, whose share of the student population dropped 1.6 percentage points compared with fall 2019 enrollment.

What Does Declining College Enrollment Mean for the Workforce?

Employers need workers with the skills developed at Oregon’s community colleges. In responses to the Oregon Employment Department’s Job Vacancy Survey, employers report more difficulty filling vacancies requiring postsecondary training, associate degrees and “other” training or certifications. In 2019, 77% of these vacancies were reported as difficult to fill, compared with 55% of jobs requiring a high school diploma and 57% of vacancies requiring a bachelor or advanced degree.

Some of the most common jobs reported by Oregon employers that would be trained at a local community college include registered nurses, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, nursing assistants, dental assistants, electricians, and carpenters. This top list of jobs employers were recruiting for in 2019 heavily represents trades jobs, as community colleges provide the classroom training for the state's apprenticeship programs, and health care-related jobs. We need workers trained in these fields. An interruption in such training will be felt in increased difficulty filling jobs in a couple of years’ time, as these programs can take two to four years to result in a fully trained worker.

To learn more about community college enrollment and its effect on the workforce, read economist Jessica Nelson's full article here

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Oregon’s Hazelnut Harvest

Hazelnuts have been known by a variety of names. It has been called the Cobb nut, the Pontiac nut, the Spanish nut, and the Lombard. Many people also call them filberts. However, there is some debate about where the name “filbert” came from. Some speculate that the name filbert originated from the Old English term for “full beard,” in reference to the nut’s outer husk. Others believe the name was derived from St. Philibert, because August 22 – a date that corresponds in England to the ripening of the earliest filbert – is dedicated to him. Whether they are called hazelnuts or filberts, one thing is certain, the hazelnut industry plays an important role in Oregon’s agricultural sector.

Oregon’s hazelnut orchards are not spread evenly around the state. Nearly all are located in the Willamette Valley. Benton, Clackamas, Lane, Linn, Marion, Polk, Washington, and Yamhill counties have the vast majority of Oregon’s hazelnut orchards. These eight counties account for 99% of the commercial hazelnut acreage grown in Oregon in 2017.

The Oregon Hazelnut Marketing Board estimates there are about 1,000 Oregon farms growing hazelnuts in Oregon. Oregon Employment Department (OED) records counted 59 firms in 2020 categorized in the “tree nut farming” industry. These 59 firms that report their employment to the OED are covered under the unemployment insurance (UI) program. There are obviously many more hazelnut farmers than that in Oregon, and the discrepancy is mostly due to the large number of farms that are not covered by unemployment insurance. Many smaller farms that don’t exceed certain payroll thresholds, primarily use farm labor contractors, or almost exclusively employ family members are examples of farms that are not covered.
Although employment may be significantly undercounted, due to the lack of unemployment insurance coverage, the graph gives a good indication of the seasonal employment pattern that occurs in the industry as well as the industry’s long-term growth. Employment is relatively steady throughout most of the year, except in October. October’s employment level increases and peaks like clockwork every year as the annual hazelnut crop is harvested. In 2001, the industry’s annual average employment was 103. By 2019 the annual average employment tripled, with employment of 309.

To learn more about Oregon's hazelnut harvest, read the full article by regional economist Pat O'Connor

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Oregon’s Forest Sector Employment Totals 61,600 in 2019

Forest sector-related employment in Oregon totaled 61,600 in 2019, which accounted for 3% of Oregon’s workforce. Forest-related jobs paid relatively well, with an annual average wage of $56,600, roughly 3% more than the average of $55,000 for all jobs covered by unemployment insurance in 2019.

The majority of Oregon’s forest sector-related employment occurs in privately owned companies. About 52,450 forest sector jobs were found at private establishments covered by unemployment insurance in 2019. Another 3,300 private nonemployers operated in forest-related industries in 2018, the most recent year with available data. Federal, state, and local government accounted for 5,800 forest sector jobs statewide.

Almost 41,700 (68%) of the 61,600 forestry jobs were found at establishments in metropolitan counties, while 19,700 forest-related jobs (32%) belonged to businesses in rural counties. Another 250 jobs (0.4%) were in multi-area or unclassified locations.

Although metros accounted for twice as many of these jobs, forest sector employment made up 7% of all rural employment, compared with 2% of all metropolitan area employment. In Grant County, one out of every five jobs (20%) was forest-related. The sector accounted for more than 10% of the total in Douglas, Jefferson, Lake, and Crook counties.

The forest sector also held relative importance to rural Oregon in terms of wages. In metropolitan areas, forest sector wages sometimes paid less than the annual average for all jobs, but could also pay as much as 39% more. Meanwhile, forest sector jobs in rural areas paid as much as 85% more than all jobs. That was the case in Clatsop County, where forest sector jobs paid an average of $72,200, compared with $39,100 for all jobs. Lincoln County was similar, with an average annual forest sector wage ($69,800) that was 77% above the all-job average ($39,500).

Even at the county level, our breakout likely understates the importance of forest jobs to rural Oregon. That’s because “metropolitan” includes all jobs throughout the 13 counties that are a part of the state’s eight metropolitan areas, even if the non-metropolitan balance of the county is rural in character.

To learn more about Oregon's forest sector, read Senior Economic Analyst Anna Johnson's article here