Friday, January 6, 2017

Difficulty Filling Job Vacancies Reaches Four-Year High

Our latest quarterly job vacancy survey results show Oregon businesses reported 52,300 job vacancies in fall 2016. That's an increase of 7,400 job vacancies compared with the prior fall.

The job vacancy numbers reflect continued, strong employment growth in the state. This fall the 2-to-1 ratio of unemployed Oregonians to job vacancies remained its lowest since comparable records began for the third consecutive quarter.

With continued job growth and low unemployment, businesses have also reported more difficulty filling job vacancies In fall 2016, the share of all job openings reported as difficult to fill (68%) hit its highest point in the four-year history of the quarterly job vacancy survey. For more than one-third (37%) of all difficult-to-fill vacancies businesses cited a lack of applicants, compared with 30 percent in fall 2015.

Anecdotes from employers across the state illustrated this challenge:
" Few applications; competitive labor market" (Rogue Valley)
" Low response to ads and poor response to completing the interview process." (Portland)
"Zero applicants" (Central Oregon)
"Just not many available [applicants] in this area." (Eastern Oregon)

Oregon employers also reported far fewer job vacancies paying less than $10 per hour. That's due in part to the state's rising minimum wage, which moved to $9.75 in one half of the state's counties and $9.50 in the other half as of July. Yet, the biggest increase in job vacancies over the year occurred for job openings paying between $15 and $20 per hour, well above minimum wage. The lack of applicants and other challenges faced by businesses in a competitive labor market could also push up wages.

For more details on recent Oregon job vacancies, visit the “publications” tab on and scroll down to the “Job Vacancy Survey” section. You can also contact me at or 503.947.1268 with questions!

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