Oregon Women in the Labor Force

Oregon Women in the Labor Force

by Karla Castillo

November 14, 2016

Women represent an important part of the workforce. In 2015, there were 926,000 women in the labor force (94.6% of those were employed), representing 47 percent of Oregon's labor force. Women's labor force participation rate was 56.1 percent, compared with 66.2 percent among men.

The total unemployment rate for women in 2015 was 5.4 percent compared with 5.9 for men. Both rates were down from 2014 levels. Unemployment rates also differed by race and ethnicity. Asian women in Oregon had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.2 percent, followed by white females at 5.5 percent. Hispanic or Latino females had the highest unemployment rate at 7.0 percent.

There were about 93,000 Hispanic women in the civilian labor force in Oregon in 2015, representing one out of 10 women in the labor force. Of those, 87,000 were employed. Women of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity had a higher labor force participation rate, at 59.5 percent, than white females (56.3%).

Working Moms in Oregon

In 2014, around 34 percent of women in the labor force had children under 18 years old. Most working moms had children between 6 and 17 years old. Also, among mothers the labor force participation was higher for those with children 6 to 17 years old, at 75.3 percent, than for those with younger children, at 65.1 percent.

The unemployment rate for working mothers with children under 18 was 6.1 percent in 2014 compared with 4.6 percent for fathers. The unemployment rate also varied depending on the age of the children. Women with children between 6 and 17 years had a much lower unemployment rate, at 4.7 percent than women with children younger than 6 years (8.1%).

Health Care and Educational Services Industries Are Female Dominated

In 2015, women were present in every sector and represented 49 percent of the total nonfarm employment in Oregon. Female workers dominated in the health care and social assistance sector, with 75.1 percent of the total employment in that sector. The specific industries in the health care and social assistance sector that had the largest share of women were child day care services, offices of dentists, home health care services, nursing care facilities and office of physicians. Women also held two-thirds of the jobs in educational services. In the educational services sector, the industries that employed the most women were elementary and secondary schools; educational support services; and other schools and instruction.

In Central Oregon women represented 50 percent of the total nonfarm employment. In Crook County, only 45 percent of jobs were held by women and in Jefferson County it was 46 percent. The main industries of employment of women in Central Oregon were health care and social assistance; finance and insurance; and educational services. The industries that were dominated by men were construction; transportation and warehousing; agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting; wholesale trade; utilities, and manufacturing.