Job Vacancies in Northwest Oregon in 2018

by Erik Knoder

February 21, 2019

Northwest Oregon had about 3,385 job vacancies in the private sector on an average day in 2018. This was a decrease from an average of 3,750 vacancies in 2017. The industry with the most vacancies was leisure and hospitality; it had an average of 863 job vacancies on any given day. These estimates for job vacancies came from a survey of 550 private-sector employers in Northwest Oregon during the year.
The 3,385 vacancies are estimated from point-in-time surveys. The survey is mailed to employers each quarter and respondents are asked about vacancies they have at that time. The responses from the four quarterly surveys were combined to make an estimate of the average number of vacancies during the year.

To put the average of 863 vacancies in leisure and hospitality in more context, the leisure and hospitality industry in Northwest Oregon had an estimated average annual employment of 16,590 in 2018 and hired an estimated 16,371 in 2017 (the most recent year of data) people over the course of the year, an average of nearly 45 hires per day. One factor that may influence the number of vacancies is the relatively high turnover and low average pay in leisure and hospitality.

Two other large industries in Northwest Oregon were also near the top of the list for having the most job vacancies. Health care and social assistance and manufacturing took the number two and number three positions. Retail trade slipped from the number three to number four position in 2018.These industries are among the largest in Northwest Oregon, so it’s no surprise that they had the most job vacancies in 2018.

The survey also revealed that the occupations with the most vacancies were maids and housekeepers (mostly in lodging); meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers (mostly in fish plants); production workers; and personal care aides – which is pretty much what you would expect given the dominant industries. Most job vacancies were for relatively low-paying positions. Employers were offering $15 or less per hour for 49 percent of all vacancies. Only 10 percent of vacancies were offering $25 per hour or more.

Sixty-one percent of job vacancies had either no educational requirement at all or required only a high school diploma. These vacancies also tended to offer lower pay.
Vacancies that required postsecondary training showed the importance of getting some education or training beyond high school. The average hourly wage was much higher, essentially all were permanent positions, and 84 percent were for full-time jobs. The 2018 vacancy survey reinforces other research that shows that Northwest Oregon job seekers can benefit by getting additional education and training at local community colleges, Jobs Corps Centers, and apprenticeships.

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