Lane County Job Vacancies Rebound in 2021

by Brian Rooney

March 3, 2022

Private employers in Lane County were looking to fill a record 8,900 job vacancies at any given time in 2021 according to estimates from the Oregon Employment Department’s Job Vacancy Survey. The record level of vacancies came as employers tried to replace jobs lost during the pandemic recession in 2020 when vacancies dropped 23%. In another record, employers reported 74% of vacancies were difficult to fill.
Statewide, the Portland Metro area (Multnomah, and Washington counties) led the way with 28,000 or about 29% of openings. Lane County accounted for about 9% of total statewide vacancies.

The average starting wage offered by employers in Lane County was $18.62 compared with $19.69 statewide.

Even though the average wage was lower than the statewide average, Lane County had roughly the same percentages of vacancies by educational requirement. Of the vacancies where an educational requirement is known, only 29% required education beyond high school while 71% of jobs required a high school diploma or less and a little less than half of those had no requirement at all.
Although the majority of vacancies required no education beyond high school, the old adage that “education pays,” holds true in this data. The average starting wage for vacancies that require post-secondary education, such as an associate’s degree or some other certification was $24.80, and vacancies that required a bachelor’s degree or higher averaged $32.16. Comparatively, openings that require a high school diploma averaged $16.63 and starting wages averaged $15.75 for openings with no requirement.
The health care and social assistance industry accounted for 26% of vacancies in Lane County, more than any other industry. Construction and manufacturing were next with 11% each. Some relatively low-paying industries also had high shares of vacancies with leisure and hospitality at 10% and retail trade at 8%.

Even with demand concentrated in the health care and social services industry, businesses were hiring for a wide variety of occupations in 2021, reporting vacancies in 181 different occupations. Heavy and tractor-trailer drivers had the highest number at 556 with vacancies coming from several industries including transportation, construction, and wholesale trade.

The health care and social services industry had vacancies in several occupations including the second highest, personal care aides with 545. Others include registered nurses (148), social and human services assistants (140), and preschool teachers (132).

Other occupations with a high number of vacancies include retail salespersons (294), customer service representatives (241), cooks (215), landscaping and groundskeeping workers (203), and construction laborers (200).
The 2021 Lane County estimates are based on responses from 1,500 private employers with two or more employees who were surveyed throughout the year.

For more details on statewide and regional vacancies, visit and scroll down to the section titled “Job Vacancy Survey.”


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