Oregon’s Furniture and Related Products Manufacturing IndustryFebruary 1, 2017 Oregon’s furniture and related products manufacturing industry includes companies that manufacture furniture and items such as mattresses, cabinets, window blinds, and fixtures. Furniture is everywhere in our lives; in our homes, our offices, and the businesses we frequent. Yet, furniture manufacturing doesn’t always receive a lot of attention. One reason could be that humans have been building furniture for some time. Archeological research shows that 30,000 years ago people were constructing and carving their own furniture, so it certainly isn’t the newest business under the sun.
Oregon’s furniture manufacturing industry experienced steep job losses during the recession that began at the end of 2007 as the nation’s housing bubble burst. Those employment losses within furniture manufacturing actually started in 2007 and continued through 2011. Nearly 8,500 people were employed in Oregon’s furniture manufacturing in 2006. By 2011, the annual average employment in the industry had dropped to about 4,600, a 46 percent employment decline over the five-year time period. In comparison, Oregon’s private-sector employment declined 6.5 percent from 2006 to 2011.
The furniture manufacturing industry has been adding employment since its low-point in 2011. From 2011 to 2015, the industry’s annual average employment added about 1,000 jobs, growing 22 percent and getting employment back up to 5,600. That being said, the industry still has more than 2,800 jobs to be added to get back to its pre-recession peak employment level in 2006.
Oregon’s furniture manufacturing industry comprises a slightly larger share of the state’s total employment compared with the nation. Nationally furniture and related products manufacturing made up about 0.32 percent of total nonfarm employment in 2015, in Oregon the industry comprised 0.37 percent of total nonfarm employment.
Employment in Oregon’s furniture manufacturing industry is fairly well distributed around the state. There is at least one business in furniture and related products manufacturing in 28 of Oregon’s 36 counties. Nearly 40 percent of the employment in the industry is found in the Portland area (Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties). This makes sense considering it is the state’s population center and nearly 53 percent of Oregon’s private-sector employment is in the Portland area.
We also find pockets of furniture manufacturing employment in Oregon’s smaller metropolitan areas. Marion, Polk, Linn, Lane, Douglas, Jackson, and Yamhill counties all have significant employment within furniture manufacturing.
Occupations in Furniture Manufacturing
There are a number of occupations within Oregon’s furniture manufacturing industry. However, there are a small number of occupations that comprise a large share of the jobs within the industry. The six occupations listed in the table represent 40 percent of all the jobs within the furniture and related products manufacturing sector.
Characteristics of Furniture and Related Manufacturing Workers
A larger percentage of workers in furniture manufacturing are age 45 and older compared with the total across all industries. Roughly half of workers in furniture manufacturing are ages 45 and older. Across all industries in Oregon, a little less than 45 percent of all workers are ages 45 and older. Furniture manufacturing has a smaller percentage of workers in all age groups under age 45 compared with the total across all industries.
Furniture and related manufacturing has traditionally been a male-dominated industry in terms of employment. Oregon’s workforce has nearly 49 percent female workers. In Oregon’s furniture manufacturing sector, 25 percent of the workforce is female.
Compared with Oregon’s total private-sector average wage, furniture and related products manufacturing wages are somewhat lower. In 2015, the average annual wage in Oregon’s furniture and related products manufacturing industry was $39,352, lower than the average across the private sector which was $47,778.
Younger workers in furniture and related products manufacturing have relatively high monthly wages compared with their peers in the private sector. However, average monthly wages for furniture and related products manufacturing workers in their mid-20s and older lag behind the private-sector average.
Oregon’s furniture and related products manufacturing industry has a strong relationship with housing. The recent U.S. housing bubble hit the industry hard with significant jobs losses from 2006 to 2011. The industry has added jobs in recent years as the housing market has come back, but employment is still down significantly from the industry’s peak employment in 2006.