Job Vacancies in Northwest Oregon in 2021

by Erik Knoder

March 15, 2022

Northwest Oregon had about 7,311 job vacancies in the private sector on an average day in 2021. This was an increase from an average of 2,255 vacancies in 2020. The industry with the most vacancies was leisure and hospitality; it had an average of 1,957 job vacancies on any given day. These estimates for job vacancies came from a survey of 1,500 private-sector employers with two or more employees in Northwest Oregon during the year.
The 7,311 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 1,957 vacancies in leisure and hospitality in more context, the industry in Northwest Oregon had an estimated average annual employment of 14,780 in 2021. So the industry was employing roughly a little less than 90% of the number of people that it would have preferred in 2021. Additionally, the Census Bureau estimates that 4,226 people were hired in the industry in 2021, an average of nearly 12 hires per day.

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 retail trade took the number two and number three positions. Health care and social assistance averaged 1,908 openings throughout 2021. Retail trade averaged 1,005 openings. These industries are among the largest in Northwest Oregon, so it’s no surprise that they had the most job vacancies in 2021.

The survey also revealed that the occupations with the most vacancies were maids and housekeepers (mostly in lodging); personal care aides; retail salespersons; and cashiers. Most job vacancies were for relatively low-paying positions. Despite the tight labor market employers were offering less than $15 per hour for 38% of all vacancies. Only 6% of vacancies were offering $25 per hour or more.

Nearly 75% 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 wage for vacancies requiring postsecondary training was $23.52 per hour, nearly all were permanent positions, and 81% were for full-time jobs. The 2021 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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