East Cascades Job Vacancies in 2021

by Polly Farrimond

March 10, 2022

Private employers in East Cascades were looking to fill about 10,800 job vacancies in 2021, according to estimates from the Oregon Employment Department’s annual Job Vacancy Survey. We surveyed 1,500 private employers with two or more employees. If they were hiring, employers gave details about each vacancy, including: job title, full- or part-time status, permanent or temporary status, starting wage or salary, and education and experience requirements. The record level of vacancies came as employers tried to replace jobs lost during the pandemic recession in 2020. Employers reported 81% of vacancies were difficult to fill, tied with the Rogue Valley region for the highest percent of difficult-to-fill vacancies and exceeding the statewide average of 72%.  
Statewide, the Portland Metro area (Multnomah, and Washington counties) led the way with 28,000 vacancies or about 29% of the Oregon total. East Cascades accounted for about 11% of total statewide vacancies.

The average starting wage offered by employers in the East Cascades was $19.31 compared with $19.69 statewide.

Vacancies in East Cascades were just as likely as statewide vacancies to require prior experience, with 53% of vacancies requiring experience. East Cascades had slightly higher education requirements for vacancies than the Oregon average. Of the vacancies where an education requirement is known, about 30% in the East Cascades required more than a high school education, matching the statewide share; 30% of Oregon vacancies also required education beyond high school. About 38% of the East Cascades vacancies had no education requirement compared with about 31% of Oregon vacancies that lacked any education requirements.
Although many vacancies have no education requirement, the data does show that education pays. The average hourly wage for vacancies that require post-secondary education, such as an associate’s degree or some other certification, was $24.54, and vacancies that required a bachelor’s degree or higher averaged $31.15. Comparatively, openings that require a high school diploma averaged $17.74 and starting wages averaged $16.69 for openings with no requirement.
The health care and social assistance industry accounted for 20% of vacancies in the East Cascades, more than any other industry. Construction and leisure and hospitality were next with about 15% of total vacancies. Manufacturing and retail trade accounted for 13% and 10% of total vacancies.

Businesses were hiring for a wide variety of occupations in 2021, reporting vacancies in 168 different occupations. Cooks in restaurants had the most vacancies at 455. Always in-demand it seems are personal care aides, and they had 426 vacancies in the East Cascades last year. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, retail sales persons, and production workers combined for over 1,000 vacancies.
In summary, the East Cascades had both a record number of total vacancies and difficult-to-fill vacancies in 2021. The top difficult-to-fill positions were heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, personal care aides, landscaping and groundskeeping workers, and restaurant cooks.

For more details on statewide and regional vacancies, visit https://www.qualityinfo.org/pubs and scroll down to the section titled “Job Vacancy Survey.”


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