Friday, July 21, 2017

The Labor Shortage in Oregon's Construction Industry

In the past two years, the construction industry added around 16,000 jobs – a whopping 20 percent increase – making it Oregon’s fastest growing industry sector. The construction industry accounts for around 5 percent of all nonfarm jobs in Oregon, however the industry accounted for greater than 17 percent of all nonfarm jobs added in Oregon over the past two years. A combination of rapid job growth and skilled workers leaving the industry during the recession led to a labor shortage in the building trades.

Fast growing communities, such as Portland, Bend, Salem, and Eugene, have all experienced difficulty finding construction workers to keep pace with demand. Construction employers identified 88 percent of their job vacancies as difficult to fill, the highest rate of all major industry sectors in Oregon. The occupation in Oregon with the most difficult-to-fill vacancies was construction laborers with over 1,500 vacancies identified as “difficult to fill” in 2016.

In the midst of this construction labor shortage and continued hiring demand, many are wondering where current construction workers are coming from. Are these in-migrants into the state? Are they leaving other industries lured by relatively high wages and consistent work?

Find the responses to the questions above in "New Entrants into Oregon’s Construction Industry Helping to Ease the Labor Shortage" written by Regional Economist Damon Runberg.

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