Spring Help Wanted Ads

by Anna Johnson

July 2, 2018

Online job ads decreased by 5.7 percent (-4,200) in Oregon and decreased by 1.1 percent (-51,000) in the United States between April and May 2018, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted Online data series (HWOL).

This slight decrease in job ads follows a period of large decline caused by Craigslist charging fees for job ads in all areas in the U.S. In Oregon, the cost for posting job ads varies by area ranging from $7 in Eastern Oregon, Coastal Oregon, Roseburg, and Klamath Falls to $35 in the Portland metro area. Job ads posted through Craigslist are a major source of online job ads picked up by HWOL. In Oregon, job ads from Craigslist represented 33.8 percent of all job ads collected by HWOL in May 2018.
The number of HWOL ads, which had been stable prior to 2015, started drifting downwards after the price increases in the Portland metro area in October 2015 and in other areas of the state in 2016. Online job ads in Oregon were slightly lower in May 2018 than in May 2017. Oregon’s unemployment rate continues to be low, at 4.1 percent, and nonfarm employment grew by 1.9 percent (+34,600 jobs) between May 2017 and May 2018.

Changes in ad fees on Craigslist highlight one of many reasons the HWOL data series does not provide an exact measure of job openings. Additionally, not all openings are posted online, and certain industries tend to post jobs online more often. Some job ads, like those for construction, farming, logging, and fishing, are not as likely to be posted online. Others, like computer occupations, show up more frequently on job boards. Some jobs are also posted online continuously as a means of collecting resumes without the intention of an immediate hire. Despite not measuring all job openings, the HWOL data series provides trends on online job postings by location and occupational mix and growth.

Truck Drivers Are the Most-Advertised Occupation in Oregon

Truck drivers were by far the occupation with the highest number of job ads in May 2018. Across the state, about 1,900 ads were posted for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers and 520 ads were posted for light and delivery service truck drivers.

Most in-demand occupations across the state were found in both metro and non-metro areas. Retail salespersons, supervisors and managers of retail sales workers, registered nurses, and social and human services assistants topped the list in most regions. Employers in the Portland metro area advertised heavily for software developers.

Job seekers not fitting the mold of these top-recruited positions should not feel discouraged by the limited lists. Help wanted ads could be found for hundreds of occupations in each area of the state. Although there is a consistent demand for certain occupations across the state, employers are advertising job openings in a wide range of different occupations.
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