Friday, September 15, 2017

Oregon’s Nonresident Workers

Oregon’s open beaches, rugged mountains, and grape-filled hillsides make it a popular destination for visitors. But there’s something else about Oregon that attracted nearly 111,000 people from out of state in 2014 – jobs. Roughly 7 percent of people who make their living in Oregon, make their home in some other state. Not surprising to anyone driving the bridges over the Columbia River during rush hour, four out of five of these nonresident workers come from Washington.

The 88,106 Washingtonians working in Oregon in 2014 accounted for almost 6 percent of all workers with jobs in Oregon. Among Oregon’s other neighbors, there were 7,776 Californians; 7,062 Idahoans; and 523 Nevadans working in Oregon.

The fact that people live in neighboring states and work in Oregon isn’t surprising. But what about workers living in Texas, New York, Florida, and other far away states? Their numbers more than quadrupled between 2004 and 2014, but they’re not likely crossing the Snake River on I-84 each morning to get to work. Nonresident workers may live in both states but maintain their primary residence outside Oregon, or work in Oregon on temporary assignment, or they may have moved during the year and their residency status wasn’t updated yet. Residency is assigned by the U.S. Census Bureau based on data from federal agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration, so basically where the worker files their taxes is considered home. 

One possible explanation for the growing number of nonresident workers is the rise in teleworking – regular employees working outside the conventional workplace and interacting with others via communication technologies. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people working from home in Oregon increased by 18,142 from 2007 to 2014. There’s a good chance that teleworkers are driving some of the increase in Oregon’s nonresident workers.

Read the full article written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks and Regional Economist for Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, and Tillamook counties, Erik Knoder

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