Portland Metro Job Vacancies Reach Record High in 2022

by Amy Vander Vliet

April 3, 2023

Private firms in Portland Metro (Multnomah and Washington counties) were looking to fill a record 31,000 job vacancies at any given time in 2022, according to the Oregon Employment Department’s latest Job Vacancy Survey.

The record level of vacancies came amid rapid recovery and growth in 2022 combined with a tight labor market. The survey’s results reflect the extent of employers’ struggles to find workers: the share of vacancies reported as difficult to fill shot up from about half of all openings in the years prior to the pandemic to nearly two-thirds in 2022, and the share of vacancies open for longer than 60 days also increased significantly, from 16% to 31%.
Graph showing Portland Metro job vacancies

By Industry

Metro employers across all broad industries reported vacancies in 2022. Health care and social assistance accounted for the largest number with 4,700 openings at any given time; 1,000 fewer than in 2021 yet higher than the years leading up to the pandemic as this sector continues to struggle with worker shortages. Leisure and hospitality, also impacted by the labor shortage, came second (3,700), followed by professional, scientific, and technical services (3,100), other services (2,700), and manufacturing (2,600). Together these four sectors accounted for over half of all job openings in the region.
Table showing Portland Metro job vacancies by industry, 2022

By Occupation

Employers were looking to fill a wide variety of jobs in 2022. They reported vacancies across 200 different occupations, 51 of which had 200 or more openings at any given time. Nursing assistants had the largest number of vacancies (1,100) and registered nurses came in fourth (700), as hospitals continue to face staffing shortages three years into the pandemic. Cooks (800), customer service representatives (800), and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (700) round out the top five.
Table showing occupations with the highest number of job vacancies, Portland Metro, 2022

By Education and Wages

Over half (57%) of all job vacancies either had no educational requirement at all or required only a high school diploma; lower than the statewide share (65%). On the other end of the spectrum, 13% required a bachelor’s or advanced degree; nearly double that of Oregon as a whole (7%). Both Portland Metro and Oregon reported a similar share of vacancies requiring a postsecondary degree or other certification (20%).

The average hourly wage for vacancies in Portland Metro was $24.72; 14% higher than statewide ($21.66) and higher than any other region in Oregon. Wages were tightly correlated with education requirements. Job openings with no required education offered an average wage of $17.95, less than half of the $39.79 offered for jobs requiring a bachelor’s or advanced degree.
Graph showing job vacancies and average wage by education requirement, Portland Metro and Oregon, 2022

More information about regional and statewide job vacancies can be found on the publications page of QualityInfo.org.

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