Monday, February 6, 2017

Oregon Job Vacancies Top 50,000 in 2016

Oregon businesses had 50,800 job vacancies at any given time in 2016. That’s an increase of 5 percent from 48,100 in 2015. Most job openings were for full-time and permanent positions. As unemployment remained near record lows in 2016, employers faced challenges finding workers. They reported difficulty filling 64 percent of vacancies, most often citing a lack of applicants.

Health care and social assistance reported the most vacancies (10,200) by industry, while leisure and hospitality job openings totaled 6,200. Construction vacancies boomed in 2016; the sector had 5,800 job openings, compared with 3,400 in 2015. That reflects the industry’s rapid expansion, which was nearly twice as fast as all nonfarm payroll job growth from 2015 to 2016. Together health care, leisure and hospitality, and construction accounted for almost half (44%) of all job vacancies last year.

Beyond those industries, Oregon businesses were hiring broadly across the economy in 2016. Seven different sectors had at least 4,000 job vacancies, and employers reported vacancies for 395 different occupations. Occupations with the most job openings varied from personal care aides and registered nurses to plumbers and carpenters, administrative assistants, production workers, and truck drivers.

Job vacancies with education requirements beyond high school offered far higher wages. On average, job openings with no educational requirements or a high school diploma paid in the $13 per hour range. Meanwhile, wages averaged $22.50 for vacancies with postsecondary or other certifications, and $31.38 for bachelor and advanced degree job openings. Job vacancies with higher education requirements were also more likely to be full-time positions, and require previous work experience.

Two out of five vacancies in Oregon occurred in the two-county Portland Metro area. Job openings in Portland and the 10-county East Cascades region reported the highest average hourly wages. Areas with the greatest difficulty filling vacancies included Eastern Oregon (74%), Southwestern Oregon (72%), and the Rogue Valley (71%). 

More job vacancy data can be found on the Publications page at, or you can contact me with questions!

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