Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Increasing Difficulty Filling Job Vacancies in Oregon

Today, the Oregon Employment Department has released two new sets of job vacancy information.

First, the results are in for the first quarter of 2016. Oregon's private businesses reported 41,300 vacancies this winter. That marks the first time winter vacancies have exceeded 40,000, and reflects rapid job growth in the state.

Health care and social assistance topped all industries with 9,400 vacancies in the winter. Leisure and hospitality (6,600) and retail trade (4,800) also reported large totals. Together these three industries accounted for half of all winter vacancies. Businesses were hiring for diverse types of jobs across the economy though. Seven of 14 major industries reported at least 2,000 job vacancies. Occupations with the most job openings this winter ranged from retail salespersons and cashiers to personal care aides and nursing assistants, cooks, carpenters, maintenance and repair workers, and truck drivers.

Amid accelerated job growth and a large number of vacancies, employers have faced increasing difficulty finding the workers they need. Oregon businesses reported 60 percent of vacancies as difficult to fill this winter, compared with 49 percent one year before.

Once more detailed annual data become available, the Employment Department takes a deeper look at difficult-to-fill job vacancies in the state. Today's second release does just that. The report entitled "Increasing Difficulty Filling Job Vacancies in Oregon's Labor Market" explains the rise of difficult-to-fill job vacancies in Oregon over the past few years. In 2013, businesses reported slightly less than half (48%) of all job vacancies as difficult to fill. That share rose to 51 percent in 2014, and again to 59 percent in 2015.

In particular, businesses report increasing difficulty filling vacancies due to a lack of applicants. Vacancies with a lack of applicants grew from 3,500 in 2013 to 6,700 in 2014 and 9,700 in 2015. Businesses also report a lack of qualified candidates, unfavorable working conditions, and a lack of work experience among the more common challenges filling vacancies.

Much more information about Oregon's job vacancies can be found at in the Job Vacancy Survey box on the publications page. If you prefer audio, take a listen to our podcast about these two job vacancy survey releases!

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