Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oregon's Decline in Labor Force Participation Due Largely to Aging Population

Oregon’s labor force participation rate (LFPR) fell to 61.4 percent in 2013.  This means that nearly 4-in-10 (38.6%) Oregonians ages 16 and above were not in the civilian labor force. There are a number of reasons why individuals don't participate in the labor force, including retirement, disability, and other personal needs.

The aging of Oregon’s population explains roughly half of the decline in Oregon’s LFPR since 2000. At the beginning of 2000, 15.8 percent of Oregon’s civilian noninstitutional population ages 16 and older were not in the labor force because they were retired. By March 2014, 20.8 percent (ages 16 and above) were not in the labor force due to retirement. 

The share of Oregonians (ages 16 and above) not participating in the labor force because of disability has increased from 3.1 percent in the beginning of 2004 to 5.5 percent in March 2014. 

The "other" category in the graph below refers to those not in the labor force even though they aren't retired or disabled. People ages 16 to 24 that fall in this category are typically not in the labor force because they are enrolled in school. Individuals ages 25 to 54 are typically not in the labor force because the are taking care of their house or family. 

For more on Oregon's labor force participation rate, read our full report: Oregon’s Falling Labor Force Participation: A Story of Baby Boomers, Youth, and the Great Recession

Monday, July 21, 2014

Unemployment Rates Highest in South and Central Oregon

Hood River County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June at 5.2 percent. Harney and Curry counties (10.7%) registered the highest rate for the month. Thirteen of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 6.8 percent and eight were at or below the nationwide rate of 6.1 percent. Crook County saw the largest improvement in its unemployment rate over the year with a drop of 2.0 percentage points.

For more on Oregon's county-level unemployment rates, see our latest release here: County and State Unemployment Rates.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Random Business News Around the State

This week's Around the State publication brings a random assortment of business openings.
  • The historic Egyptian Theater in Coos Bay, which closed in March 2011, has reopened. The World, 6/19/2014
  •  Performant Recovery, a debt collection company in Grants Pass, plans to hire about 25 people. Grants Pass Daily Courier, 7/13/2014 
  • Juniper Ridge Funeral Home opened in Prineville. Central Oregonian, 7/14/2014    
  • ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston, the largest processor of french fries in North America, underwent a $200 million expansion at its plant in Boardman that will allow it to make another 300 million pounds of fries each year and add 100 workers. East Oregonian, 6/29/2014
  • The University of Oregon in Eugene began its 2014 Cluster of Excellence Faculty Hiring initiative. It will add 40 professors in 10 fields, including volcanology, obesity prevention, microbiology, genome function, and energy and sustainable materials. The Register-Guard, 7/7/2014 
  • Bricks 4 Kidz, an educational company offering a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curriculum organized around construction activities with Lego blocks, opened in Corvallis. Corvallis Gazette-Times, 6/16/2014
One new business even sports the name of our business news theme of the week:

  • Random, a home furnishings and patio store, opened in Prineville. Central Oregonian, 7/1/2014
For a complete listing of business announcements, check out the full edition on QualityInfo, or search our archive by industry or geographical area for customized results.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Oregon Businesses Report Highest Number of Job Vacancies in Six Years

This morning the Oregon Employment Department released the results from the spring 2014 job vacancy survey. Businesses reported 46,900 vacancies, the highest level since spring 2008.

Overall, the average wage offered for vacancies this spring was $14.69, lower than the $15.09 average wage reported in the spring of 2013. This reflects employers' growing need for seasonal and part-time workers in sales, food preparation, and building and grounds maintenance. These occupations, along with administrative support vacancies, each reported more than 4,000 openings in the spring.

Although lower-wage vacancies captured much of the total in the spring, there was an increase over the year in vacancies that required education beyond high school (+1,500) and a bachelor's or advanced degree (+2,100). Average wages increased along with educational requirements. Vacancies that required postsecondary training had an average wage $4 per hour above those that needed a high school diploma. The average wage for vacancies with bachelor or advanced degree requirements paid $13 per hour more than those with postsecondary training. 

For more information about Oregon's job vacancies in the spring, visit the Quarterly Job Vacancy Survey page at QualityInfo.org, or send your questions to me!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

June Job Losses Offset May's Gains

Oregon added 44,000 jobs in 11 straight months of growth, but saw employment decline by 4,300 in June. This washed out May's gains of 3,900 jobs.

A few industries had key losses: construction (-3,600), manufacturing (-1,300), professional and business services (-1,100), leisure and hospitality (-1,100), and government (-1,500). Private educational services (+1,700) and health care and social assistance (+1,800) saw key gains.

Oregon's unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in June, which was unchanged from May's revised rate. Oregon's unemployment rate has been between 6.8 and 7.0 percent for each of the first six months of the year.

The number of long-term unemployed (those unemployed for six months or more) continued its downward trend in June, dropping to 40,700. This was the fewest long-term unemployed since December 2008. This number peaked in 2010 at more than 100,000.

For more details on Oregon's employment situation, read the full press release: June Job Losses Offset May's Gains.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Payrolls Have Recovered in the Portland and Columbia Gorge Areas

Throughout Oregon the changes in both total and average annual pay vary greatly. From 2007 to 2013, seven out of Oregon’s 36 counties posted inflation-adjusted gains in total annual payroll. Sherman County had the largest percentage increase at 17.9 percent. On the eastern side of the state, Harney County had the largest drop at 16.5 percent (see chart below).

The counties posting gains in total payroll from 2007 to 2013 are in the Portland metro and Columbia Gorge areas. These counties weathered the recession relatively well compared with other Oregon counties. Hood River, Morrow, Multnomah, Wasco, and Washington counties now have more jobs than they did prior to the recession.

In regards to average annual pay, 17 counties (nearly half) posted inflation-adjusted gains. These gains were more widely spread across the state compared with the gains in total annual payroll. Washington County’s increase of 5.8 percent was the largest in the state, while Gilliam County’s average annual pay dropped the most at 7.3 percent.

The county disparities are likely explained by a few things. Take Crook County, for example, where total annual payroll is down 12.6 percent from 2007 to 2013, while average annual pay is up 5.6 percent. One contributing factor to the growth in average pay is the increase in employment in the information sector from 35 in 2007 to 70 in 2013. Though the industry’s employment only increased by 35 over the period, the total annual pay jumped from roughly $1 million to almost $14 million. The average annual pay for jobs in the information sector was $199,492 in 2013, which helps bring up the overall average in the county. Overall employment is still below pre-recession levels, which lowers total annual pay because the new high-paying information jobs are not enough to offset the payroll losses during the recession.

This article was written by Workforce Analyst Martin Kraal

Friday, July 11, 2014

Has Oregon's Payroll Recovered Since the Great Recession?

As total employment in Oregon continues its path toward recovery, so does total covered payroll, at least in inflation-adjusted values. Based on data from unemployment insurance tax reports submitted quarterly by employers, total annual payroll in Oregon in 2013 was $75.6 billion. In real terms, this was $1.2 billion, or 1.6 percent, below the pre-recession peak in 2007 (see graph below). 

For average annual pay, both the inflation-adjusted and not-inflation-adjusted values are above pre-recession levels. In 2013, the average annual pay – total annual pay divided by the average of the 12 monthly employment levels – was $45,010. In inflation-adjusted terms, this was $558, or 1.3 percent, above the 2007 value.

One possible explanation for why average annual pay is above its pre-recession peak is that companies kept their more senior workers, laying off those with less seniority during the recession. For instance, data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Local Employment Dynamics program show that employment continued to increase for those 55 and over in Oregon during the recession, while it dropped for other age groups. A 2013 study from the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development also noted that fewer workers 55 and over reported being laid off compared with younger workers.

Total annual payroll is still below its 2007 level because total employment has not yet fully recovered. Total employment in 2013 was still 2.8 percent below its 2007 level. This equates to 49,000 fewer jobs contributing to the payroll.

This article was written by Workforce Analyst Martin Kraal. Look for next week's post on payrolls at the county level across Oregon!