Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Recreational Vehicle Manufacturing Workers: Where Are They Now?

One of the casualties of the "Great Recession" in Oregon was the recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturing industry. After growing through the 1990s and into the 2000s, RV manufacturing in Oregon peaked at nearly 7,700 jobs in March of 2005. A little over half (53%) of that employment was in Lane County, with the rest spread out across the state.

RV manufacturing was hit hard during the severe national recession from 2007 to 2009, as credit died up, investment returns declined, and jobs were lost.  RV manufacturing employment dropped to 1,610 by April 2009, a loss of 79 percent from its peak.

We know from the industry data that many relatively high-skilled and high-paying jobs were lost. But what happened to the workers in the RV manufacturing industry as a result of the recession? Were they able to regain employment in the industry? Were they able to transition to other industries? Did their earnings decline or grow?

Of the 7,303 workers reported as employed in the RV manufacturing industry in the third quarter of 2007, 858 (11.7%) were still employed in the RV industry four years later. Half were employed in Oregon in some other industry. More than a third (36%) were not found in the Oregon unemployment insurance wage records in the third quarter of 2011.

More than 1,000 workers - the largest portion that found employment in another industry - worked in some other manufacturing. Of those, food manufacturing and wood product manufacturing were the most common. But workers were spread out across a variety of manufacturing industries. Since RV manufacturing requires many skills, from assembly to automotive to upholstery and cabinetry, workers coming out of RV manufacturing had skills transferable to other manufacturing sectors.

Learn more about the fate of the RV manufacturing workforce in the full article, written by Regional Economist Brian Rooney. 

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Aly said...
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