Monday, October 20, 2014

Lower Unemployment Rates in Columbia Gorge and Oregon's Metro Areas

Hood River County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in September at 5.2
percent. Grant County (11.1%) registered the highest rate for the month. Fourteen of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 7.1 percent and three were at or below the national rate of 5.9 percent. Harney County saw the largest improvement in its unemployment rate over the year with a drop of 2.2 percentage points.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in five of Oregon’s six broad regions between September 2013 and September 2014. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+3.2%) and the Willamette Valley (+2.7%). Southern Oregon (+1.9%) and Portland (+1.7%) followed with notable growth, while the Oregon Coast (0.1%) and Eastern Oregon (0.0%) were essentially flat over the year.

For additional information, visit and select an area on the Regional Information map.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Most Popular Jobs by Income Bracket

Here's a new interactive chart from NPR that gives a look at most common occupations by income bracket across the United States (2012). Click and enjoy exploring. Notice that you can click on any box in the chart, and the same occupation will be highlighted yellow in each category.

NPR's chart provides great visual evidence that helps analyze data and trends from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. For example, in the 99th percentile of earners, the four most popular jobs are: physicians, managers, chief executives, and lawyers. In the bottom three brackets (that is, the 30th percentile and below), nursing aides make up more jobs than any other occupation, followed by cashiers, cooks, janitors, and housekeepers/maids.

Truck drivers are one of the more interesting occupations featured in the chart. They are one of the top ten most popular occupations in 9 out of 12 groups on the chart. In fact, they are the tenth most popular job in the $72k-$103k (80th-90th percentile) income category, but are also the tenth most popular job in the $12k-$21k (10th-20th percentile) category. In the $26k-$48k range, truck drivers were the second most popular. This speaks to the wide variety of duties and demands faced by truck drivers.

While we don't (yet) have such a fancy chart for Oregon's occupations by income bracket, you can find out about Oregon's occupations in demand here: Occupations in Demand (2014).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

This Week's Business Openings and Expansions

All of our collected business announcements can be found here: Around the State. Here are a few standouts from this week.

Openings and expansions:

  • Dave and Buster's, an arcade, restaurant, and sports bar, will open its first Pacific Northwest location at Clackamas Town Center next month. It will employ 290 people. Portland Business Journal, 10/10/2014
  • Legacy Mount Hood will open a medical office building and outpatient services center in Gresham. Portland Business Journal, 10/3/2014
  • Blue Star Donuts Mississippi opened in north Portland. Neighborhood Notes, 10/7/2014
  • Forest River Inc., a manufacturer of recreational vehicles, pontoon boats, cargo trailers, and buses, will open a facility in Silverton. It will employ about 20 people and could add 40 to 50 more. Appeal Tribune, 10/15/2014
  • Living Pacific Seafood, a Newport-based seafood wholesaler, plans to open a fish processing plant in Depoe Bay. News-Times, 10/4/2014
  • PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center in Florence will begin a $5 million expansion of its emergency department early next year. Siuslaw News, 9/23/2014
  • Harry & David in Medford will hire more than 1,100 call center workers for the holiday season and about 200 more for other temporary jobs. Mail Tribune, 10/13/2014
  • Discount Groceries opened a third Grants Pass store. It is run by Southern Oregon Outreach Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Grants Pass Daily Courier, 10/4/2014
  • Harrison Animal Clinic in southeast Portland closed. The Bee, 10/3/2014
  • Ring of Fire, a Thai and Pacific Rim restaurant, bar, and catering service in Eugene, closed. Eugene Weekly, 10/9/2014
For more business news, check out this week's full report.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Unwrapping Holiday Hiring

Retailers and package delivery companies rely on the holiday season to provide an end-of-year boost in sales that makes operating during the rest of the year worthwhile. Some businesses hire extra workers, often on a temporary basis, to get them through this busy time of year.

The number of jobs added by "holiday hiring" industries with strong holiday employment patterns was lower than average in 2013. The season's holiday buildup was led by stronger than usual growth by couriers and messengers (UPS, FedEx, etc.); health and personal care stores; and sporting goods, hobby, and book stores.

Here are total jobs numbers for industries we would expect to see a holiday hiring boost:
It's too early to say how well staffed the stores will be on opening day of this year's holiday shopping season ("Black Friday" - November 28, 2014). Industry trends through August show that retailers have not been adding a lot of jobs recently. However, the September 2014 employment forecast from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis expects Oregon's retail trade employment to grow in the fourth quarter of 2014 by 1,500 jobs more than the typical seasonal increase.

The following graph is a breakout of which industries saw the greatest buildup during the holiday hiring season, along with their average September-December buildup. 

For more on the holiday hiring season, read Nick Beleiciks' full article here: Unwrapping Holiday Hiring.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Oregon's Unemployment Rate Unchanged, Payrolls Down Slightly in September

Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in September, the same as August's revised rate. While Oregon's unemployment rate has hovered near 7.0 percent throughout the year, the national unemployment rate has improved, down to 5.9 percent in September.

Although the unemployment rate hasn't moved much, Oregon's labor force expanded rapidly in recent months, adding 5,600 in September. Meanwhile, the national labor force declined by 97,000 in September. Oregon's labor force participation rate also rose in recent months, from 61.1 percent in June to 61.5 percent in September.

Payroll employment growth stalled in Oregon in September. Oregon lost 300 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis last month, following revised gains of 4,200 jobs in August. Employment rose by 37,300 (+2.2%) between September 2013 and September 2014. Industries that led expansion over the past year include professional and business services (+7,800 jobs), health care (+5,800), leisure and hospitality (+5,600), and manufacturing (+5,000).

More information about Oregon's employment situation can be found in the full news release at!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Summer Job Vacancies Reach a New High

Oregon businesses reported 49,600 vacancies this summer. That's 6,700 more vacancies than last summer and the most found by any Oregon Job Vacancy Survey, which began in the spring of 2008. The growing number of vacancies reflects the busy summer hiring season and long-term improvement in the job market.

Three large industries reported more than 5,000 vacancies apiece: health care and social assistance (10,800); management, administrative and waste services (10,400); and leisure and hospitality (5,400). Although these few industries accounted fore more than half of all vacancies, employers were looking to fill openings across a wide range of occupations this summer. The occupational groups with the most vacancies were food preparation, office and administrative support, health care, and construction. Compared with last year, the number of vacancies increased the most for health care (+8,400) and construction-related (+3,900) occupations.

Employers had a slightly more difficult time filling job vacancies this summer. Since the spring of 2013, difficult-to-fill vacancies have made up roughly half of the total. In the summer of 2014, that share was 58 percent for Oregon statewide. Central and Eastern Oregon each reported three out of four vacancies (74%) were difficult to fill.

You can find more information about job vacancies in Oregon through the Quarterly Job Vacancy Survey Snapshot available at!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Advertising and Public Relations - the Mad Men of Oregon?

The American Movie Channel’s series Mad Men depicts Madison Avenue advertising executives during the 1960s. Back then people wore suits and dresses to work every day and smoked in the office. The means of delivering advertising was largely in print and television advertising was the new and developing medium.

The need for advertising and public relations services has not changed since the days of Mad Men. Advertising is still an essential part of business. It’s needed to gain attention and sell a product whether it’s a consumer product, political candidate or government program. 

Despite the similarities, some things have changed.  Many companies have more casual dress codes and people don’t smoke in the office anymore. Print and television are declining as a share of overall advertising revenue and the Internet and email are taking over as the developing ways to deliver advertising.
Oregon advertising and public relations firms employ nearly 6,000 workers (Graph 1). It was hard-hit during the Great Recession as advertising dollars dried up, losing about 730, or 13.7 percent of its jobs compared with an 8.5 percent loss for all industries. Since the recession, the industry has grown rapidly, adding 1,250 jobs (27%) to reach about 5,900 in early 2014.

Another thing that has not changed since the days of Mad Men is that the industry is characterized by some very highly paid executives and creative people in art and writing who then rely on a variety of lower paid workers to produce and deliver their work.  Three industries stand out for high pay: advertising agencies ($83,623), public relations agencies ($71,889) and media buying agencies ($100,432). Two stand out for their low average pay: advertising material distribution services ($23,595) and other services related to advertising ($18,465).

For more on advertising and public relations in Oregon, read Brian Rooney's full article: Advertising and Public Relations - the Mad Men of Oregon?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Help Wanted on the Rise for Auto Mechanics in Oregon

Openings for auto mechanics revved up in 2013 and continues to accelerate, although August seems to be the seasonal peak for hiring mechanics. The Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) data series from The Conference Board allows us to see the broad trends in occupational demand, as well as identify specific job opportunities within an occupation. 

Overall, there were 2,100 fewer HWOL ads in Oregon and 137,200 fewer ads nationally in September, following strong gains in August. Despite this drop, hiring demand continues to show modest overall growth for 2014, as measured by the number of help wanted ads posted online. The overall high level of advertising by employers suggests continued job growth.

Around Oregon, the number of ads fell in each metro area, but the demand is still trending upwards in most areas.

For more information about Oregon's HWOL series, check out our monthly summary at!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Biz Activity Around Oregon

Our entire list of business announcements can be found on our Around the State page. Here are a few highlights!

Openings and expansions:

  • First Call Resolution call center in Coos Bay plans to add 150 workers. The World, 9/27/2014
  • Goodwill Industries will open at store in Brookings in November. It will employ about 10 people. Curry Coastal Pilot, 9/23/2014
  • Roseburg Forest Products offered up to 60 jobs in Douglas County to employees displaced when a fire destroyed its veneer plant in Weed, California. The jobs will last until the facility is rebuilt. Employees will also receive food and housing assistance. The News-Review, 9/19/2014
  • Bend-La Pine School District added 7.3 full-time equivalent teaching positions due to increased enrollment. The Bulletin, 9/24/2014
  • Bend Party Store will open in Bend. Cascade Business News, 9/18/2014
  • Bridge City Taproom opened in southeast Portland. Neighborhood Notes, 9/22/2014
  • Velvet Edge, a women's clothing shop, opened in Eugene. The Register-Guard, 9/18/2014
  • Made in Oregon will open a store at Fifth Street Market in Eugene in April. The Register-Guard, 9/11/2014
  • Western States Equipment in La Grande closed. The Observer, 9/3/2014
  • Hazen Hardware in Clatskanie will close. The Chief, 9/18/2014
For more business news, check out this week's full report.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Oregon's New Job Holders

As Oregon's recovery continues, the number of new Oregon job holders continues to increase. New Oregon job holders are those who worked during the fourth quarter of 2013, but had not worked in Oregon since at least 1990. It's likely that individuals in this group are holding their first job in the state -- either by moving here and getting a job, or joining the ranks of the Oregon workforce for the first time.

Between the fourth quarters of 2013 and 2014, Oregon had a gain of nearly 11 percent in new job holders. That's an increase from 34,600 new job holders to 38,400. Perhaps even more interesting is that the change in the number of new Oregon job holders began to decline in the fourth quarter of 2006, about one year before the Great Recession began.

There can be many explanations for the drop in the number of new Oregon job holders that occurred late in 2006. If one reason is that Oregon employers were concerned about their future need for these workers, this measure could serve as a sign for future recessions.

You can find more information about new Oregon job holders in the quarterly Oregonians at Work summary, written by Regional Economist Erik Knoder.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Oregon Coffee Fun Facts

In honor of national coffee day, here are some fun employment facts about the much-loved Monday morning pick-me-up:
  • Coffee shops -- along with ice cream parlors, smoothie shops, and other similar businesses -- are classified in the "snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars" industry. This industry had roughly 1,100 establishments in Oregon in 2013.
  • Employment statewide for the coffee shops et al. industry totaled 10,300 in 2013.
  • Baristas are classified as "counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop." Oregon had 9,400 of them in 2012.
  • Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that grows coffee beans on a broad, commercial scale.

Friday, September 26, 2014

State of Jefferson: An Economic Perspective

The idea of the "State of Jefferson" goes back nearly as far as Oregon's statehood. Even as far back as the gold rush era of the 1850s, various groups proposed carving territory out of portions of Southern Oregon and Northern California and forming the 51st state, the State of Jefferson. 

While these proposals are long on ardent supporters for their cause, they are often short on analysis of what the State of Jefferson economy might look like. This analysis combines 14 Northern California counties and five Oregon counties that border California to form Jefferson State.

The State of Jefferson territory includes many rural and poorer counties of Southern Oregon and Northern California, and the state would face many economic challenges. 

Here are a few key points:
  • California's Department of Finance says the CA portion of the State of Jefferson receives about $20 million more from the state than it provides.  Proponents of secession say that secession would create new opportunities and funding.
  • The poverty rate in the State of Jefferson territory was 20.3 percent in 2012, higher than California (17.0%) and Oregon (17.0%), as well as the United States (15.9%).
  • Payroll employment in the territory declined 3.3 percent between 2003 and 2013 while payroll in the United States increased 4.8 percent in the same period.
  • Jefferson State's average wage would have been behind all 50 states in 2013.
  • The unemployment rate in the territory was 10.4 percent in 2013, down from a peak of 13.4 percent in 2011. This was higher than all 50 states in 2013.

Analyzing just a few characteristics of the State of Jefferson's economy paints a sobering picture. But there are other factors that are not as easily measured such as the cost of living, wealth of the residents of the region, and quality of life. Many are willing to trade higher salaries and incomes to live in such a beautiful place.

For much more on the history of the State of Jefferson, as well as its current economic situation, read Guy Tauer's full article here: State of Jefferson: An Economic Perspective.