Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oregon’s High-Tech Employment Trends – What Is High Tech?

The high-tech industry is a crucial and dynamic piece of Oregon's economy. In 2013, private-sector employment was more than 83,000 and contributed over $8 billion in covered payroll to the state's workers and families.

But what exactly is high tech? The high-tech industry does not have one standard definition or official government code. Instead, it is a mix of service and manufacturing businesses from a variety of industries. The definition used here at the Oregon Employment Department includes 11 industries such as semiconductor manufacturing, software publishers, and data processing.

High tech accounts for 6 percent of all covered private-sector employment statewide. High-tech firms are found all over the state but are most concentrated in large metropolitan areas like Portland, Eugene, Medford, and Bend.

Broadly speaking, high-tech employment is disproportionately male. Males account for 70 percent of employment and females just 30 percent, compared with 53 percent and 47 percent respectively across all industries. This also reflects national trends.

High-tech workers are more likely to be of "prime working age," which is generally defined as ages 25 to 54. Seventy-six percent fall into this age group, compared with 66 percent of workers across all industries. 

At the industry level, average wages in high tech are some of the highest in the state. In 2013, its average wage was more than $96,000. During the past five years, average high-tech inflation-adjusted wages have grown by 8.2 percent, compared with 2.7 percent for all industries.

Looking at the industry's leading occupations, average wages are highest for architectural and engineering managers ($137,093), computer and information systems managers ($111,367), and systems software developers ($100,724). Wages are lowest for the industry's electrical and electronic equipment assemblers ($34,492), secretaries and administrative assistants ($34,810), and semiconductor processors ($34,882).

The Oregon Employment Department forecasts the high-tech industry will grow by 18 percent between 2012 and 2022, compared with 15 percent growth across all industries. The future is particularly promising for the industry's service sectors, where growth is expected to be even faster.

For more information about this growing, generally well-paying industry, check out Jill Cuyler-Crook's full article -- "Oregon’s High-Tech Employment Trends – What is High Tech?"

Monday, February 23, 2015

Department of Homeland Security Employment in Oregon

Congress is working on passing a Department of Homeland Security funding bill before February 27. Without funding, the Department could begin a partial shutdown. 

Although most Homeland Security employees would continue to work during a partial shutdown, we have been asked about the number and types of Department of Homeland Security jobs in Oregon. In Oregon, almost 1,000 people were employed by the Department of Homeland Security. The bulk of this employment was in Multnomah County for the Transportation Security Administration. 

For more information on Department of Homeland Security funding, see DHS Budget.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Oregon's Unemployment Rate Drops for those in 'Prime Working Years'

Oregon's 2014 unemployment rate dropped to 7.1%, a decline of 0.8 percentage point from 2013. The rate didn't decline evenly across age groups, however.
  • The unemployment rate in the 16-24 age group increased 0.1 percentage point. 
  • The 25-54 group ('prime working years') saw the largest decline (-1.5) in its unemployment rate.
  • Those 55 and older saw the largest increase in their unemployment rate (+0.7).
To learn more about the high unemployment rate for those in the 16-24 group, read the Oregon Employment Department's Endangered: Youth in the Labor Force.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Oregon’s Part-Time Workers: Nearly One-Quarter of Employment in 2014

In 2014, nearly one-quarter of employed Oregonians usually worked part-time schedules. A part-time worker is a person who usually works fewer than 35 hours per week. About 77 percent of Oregon’s total employment was usually working full time in 2014.

People work part time for a variety of reasons. Part-time jobs offer flexibility for some who seek a job that fits their circumstances, such as students, those looking for additional income from seasonal work, or a spouse in a household with young children. Such groups are generally considered the “voluntary part-time employed.” By contrast, the “involuntary part-time employed.” are people working part-time schedules because they can’t find full-time employment or have had their hours cut at work from a usual full-time schedule down to a part-time schedule.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

How is the Unemployment Rate Calculated?

The unemployment rate attracts a lot of attention as a key indicator of Oregon’s economy, but what goes into this figure?

Click on the chart below to read about the official unemployment rate.

There are a number of other measures of labor underutilization as well. This includes the U-6 rate, which includes workers that are employed part time for economic reasons, but would rather have a full time job. Read more about Oregon's alternative measures in Tracy Morrissette's article: Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for Oregon.

Friday, February 6, 2015

U.S. Jobs and Wages See Growth in January

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its January employment figures today. Here's the take from Oregon's State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks:
Today’s news that 257,000 jobs were added nationally in January included an announcement that job gains in November (+423,000) and December (+329,000) were much stronger than originally thought. November’s revised figures show the largest one-month gain since May 2010 (due to temporary hires for the Census), and the largest one-month job gain in private sector jobs since 1997. Altogether, the last three months of job gains show job growth similar to the late 1990s.
In addition to strong job growth, average hourly earnings saw an increase this month of 12 cents, or almost 0.5 percent. This is after a December decrease of 5 cents. At the January figure of $24.75, average hourly wages are up 2.2 percent over the year, not adjusting for inflation.

Other highlights from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' January jobs report:
  • Over the year, job growth averaged 267,00 per month.
  • Unemployed persons increased slightly to about 9 million.
  • The U.S. unemployment rate was was little changed at 5.7 percent in January and down 1.0 percentage points over the year.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Unemployment Rates by Education Level, 2014

The average unemployment rate for Oregonians age 25 and older was 5.6 percent in 2014. Educational attainment level is a big factor in the likelihood of an adult holding a job, with higher educational experience leading to lower unemployment. The unemployment rate for those with at least a bachelor’s degree was just 4.0 percent. It was 6.3 percent for those with some college or an associate degree and 6.8 percent for high school graduates with no college experience. Those without a high school diploma faced the highest unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

2014 in Review: End of the Seven Year Jobs Ditch

by Nick Beleiciks, State Employment Economist

The seven-year jobs ditch that Oregon’s economy endured since December 2007 came to an end when payroll jobs finally surpassed their pre-recession peak level in November 2014 (Graph 1). The state’s economy added 50,300 jobs over the year, the largest November to November jobs gain since 1996. Oregon’s over-the-year growth rate of 3.0 percent was well above the historical average and the fastest job growth since 2004 when the growth rate was also 3.0 percent.

Despite the job growth, a high number of unemployed Oregonians and an inflow of new workers kept downward pressure on worker earnings. The average hourly wage in 2014 was about $23.00 per hour. After adjusting for inflation, the average worker in Oregon is earning less than they were during the recession.

Oregon’s unemployment rate barely fell over the year, moving from 7.3 percent in November 2013 to 7.0 percent in November 2014. The strong job growth during the year was matched by a large increase in Oregon’s labor force. The labor force growth mostly consisted of people who found employment, but enough unemployed labor force entrants kept the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate elevated. The unemployment rate in 2014 was just below Oregon’s long-term (back to 1976) historical average of 7.3 percent.

Other highlights from the report:
  • The private sector drove job growth in 2014. Four out of five jobs added were in the private sector.
  • Central Oregon was the fastest growing area in the state.
  • Labor force participation started to increase.

For a more in-depth analysis of Oregon's 2014 labor market, read Nick Beleiciks' full article: 2014 in Review: End of the Seven Year Jobs Ditch.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Drops to Six-Year Low

This information is from the Oregon Employment Department's January 21, 2015 press release

Oregon’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in over six years. At 6.7 percent, the unemployment rate is the same as it was in August 2008, right before the worst months of the financial crisis which led to the Great Recession.

Job growth continued at a rapid pace in December, adding 8,200 jobs. The last three months of 2014 added a combined total of 24,300 jobs, which was the largest three-month gain since comparable records began in 1990.

Seven of the major industry sectors added at least 800 jobs in December. It’s rare for so many industries to gain that many jobs in one month. Retail trade added 2,000 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, which means retailers hired more workers than they usually do during the holiday season.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Holiday Hiring and Broad Job Growth Boost Job Vacancies in Oregon

Oregon businesses reported 45,700 vacancies in fall 2014, an increase of 13,400 compared with fall 2013. The growing number of vacancies reflects strong job growth across Oregon in recent months.

Three large but diverse industries reported the most job vacancies in the fall. Holiday hiring boosted retail trade vacancies, which totaled 7,200. Health care, a perennial job vacancy industry leader, reported 6,700 vacancies. Manufacturing experienced stronger job growth in 2014, and registered the third-highest vacancy total in the fall (5,200).

The variety among industries with the most vacancies translates into a diverse group of opportunities for those seeking a job in Oregon. In the fall, retail trade businesses most commonly reported vacancies for retail salespersons, cashiers, and delivery drivers. Registered nurses and nursing assistants topped the list of health care occupations with vacancies. Manufacturers sought assemblers and machine operators, drivers, and engineers, among others.

Although retail trade -- which generally offers a lower average wage for vacancies -- led the industry totals, fall 2014 brought the highest average wage ($16.47) seen in the quarterly Oregon Job Vacancy Survey. Average wages generally increase along with educational requirements. Vacancies that required postsecondary training (examples include a certification or associate's degree) had an average hourly wage $7.00 above vacancies that required a high school diploma. Similarly, vacancies with bachelor's or advanced degree requirements paid an average wage $12.00 higher than the postsecondary openings.

For more information about the Oregon Job Vacancy Survey, visit the Publications page at, or take a look at the fourth quarter snapshot summary.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Help Wanted Online Ads Declined by 1,100 in December

December brought a slight reduction in hiring demand, as measured by the number of help wanted ads posted online. There were 1,100 fewer ads in Oregon and 79,200 fewer ads nationally. Even so, recent help wanted ad trends suggest that job growth and the labor market will continue to see strength.

Looking across the state, about half of Oregon’s online advertisements were in the Portland area. Eastern Oregon was the only area without rapid growth in the number of ads over the last year. Lane County saw the fastest rate of growth in ad volume, up 40 percent over the year.

For more information about The Conference Board's Help Wanted Online (HWOL) series, take a look at the detailed HWOL index summary for December, or contact Nick Beleiciks.

Friday, January 9, 2015

U.S. Jobs Up and Unemployment Rate Down, Wages Don't Budge

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 252,000 in December. The unemployment rate dipped from 5.8% to 5.6%. Over the year, job growth averaged 246,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 194,000 in 2013. 

While the U.S. gained jobs and the unemployment rate declined, wages were a different story. According to State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks, “The national economy is seeing the fastest sustained job growth since 2006 and the unemployment rate has fallen to where it was in 2008. Real wage growth is a holdout in the labor market’s recovery, however, with average wage increases just equaling inflation over the last year.”

Wages in the U.S. fell in December by about about 0.2%, or five cents. In November, wages grew by about 0.2%.

Other highlights from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' December jobs report:
  • Unemployed persons decreased by 383,000 to 8.7 million in December.
  • Significant December employment gains occurred in professional and business services (+52,000), construction (+48,000), and education and health services (+48,000).
  • The U.S. unemployment rate was down 1.1 percentage points over the year.