Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Many More Job Vacancies Around the State in 2014

During 2014, Oregon’s private employers were looking to fill about 45,000 job vacancies at any given time, according to new annual figures from the Oregon Employment Department’s Job Vacancy Survey. The Job Vacancy Survey provides a snapshot of the labor market job seekers face. 

The number of job vacancies in 2014 increased by 40 percent compared with 2013. 

The average starting wage offered by employers also improved over the year, increasing by 4 percent to $15.67. The largest increase in vacancies was among jobs offering starting wages between $10 and $15 per hour. There were 15,200 vacancies in this range, up 72 percent from 2013. Vacancies offering more $15 per hour increased 29 percent to 11,900. There were slightly fewer vacancies offering less than $10 per hour in 2014. That’s partly because the increase in Oregon’s minimum wage from $8.95 in 2013 to $9.10 in 2014 narrowed that wage range.

One key to finding a job that pays higher than average wages is to have at least some postsecondary training or other work related qualification. The average wage offered for vacancies requiring education beyond high school was more than $17 per hour. Average wages increased for jobs requiring college degrees. The average hourly wage was $20 per hour for vacancies that required an associate degree, $31 per hour for a bachelor’s degree, and $38 for a graduate degree. Vacancies that did not require education beyond high school offered hourly wages of $12 per hour.

Employers also offered higher wages when their vacancies required more than a year of previous experience. Vacancies with no experience requirement paid an average of $11 per hour. Those requiring less than one year of experience paid $12 per hour. For vacancies that required one to five years of previous work experience, the average wage offered was $18 per hour, while those that required five or more years of experience averaged $32 per hour.

The health care and social assistance industry accounted for almost one-fifth of vacancies, more than any other industry sector. Four additional industries each accounted for more than 10 percent of Oregon job vacancies: management, administrative, and waste services (which includes company headquarters and temporary staffing agencies, among other businesses); retail trade; leisure and hospitality; and manufacturing.

Characteristics of job vacancies can vary significantly by industry. For example, nine out of 10 health care vacancies were for permanent positions, and 39 percent required education beyond high school. In natural resources and mining, however, just 18 percent of vacancies in 2014 were for permanent jobs, and only 3 percent required education beyond high school. The specific occupations being recruited make a big difference in how industry-level details play out – almost two-thirds of the natural resources and mining vacancies were for farmworkers, of which only 11 percent were permanent positions and most were seasonal. Health care recruitment was focused on registered nurses, nursing assistants, and medical assistants, which were almost always permanent positions.

Every region of the state had more vacancies in 2014 than in 2013. Eastern Oregon saw the greatest percentage growth in vacancies over the year, up 73 percent from 2013, and the Portland area followed, with 44 percent more vacancies in 2014 than in 2013. The Portland Tri-County area had just over 23,000 vacancies in 2014, 51 percent of the statewide total.  

The Oregon Job Vacancy Survey has been conducted since 2008. The 2014 estimates are based on responses from 10,400 Oregon employers. Vacancy survey results for the first quarter of 2015 are scheduled for release in April 2015. A special report on Oregon’s difficult-to-fill vacancies will be available later this spring.

For more details on statewide and regional vacancies, visit the “publications” tab on and scroll down to the section titled “Job Vacancy Survey.”

Employment Department economist Jessica Nelson discusses the vacancy survey release in the podcast below.

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