Turnover in the Mid-Valley

by Will Summers

February 14, 2017

Turnover rates change as economic conditions change. However, current turnover rates in the Mid-Valley area are still low compared to the early 1990s even with low unemployment rates.

In the middle and late 1990s, Oregon and the Mid-Valley’s economy was growing rapidly. It was not uncommon to look for a higher paying job while still working. People with training, especially in the fields of computers and technology, were able to find jobs throughout the Mid-Valley. The chart showing overall turnover rates for the Mid-Valley counties were over 10 percent during this time period.
The economy started slowing as we approached the year 2000 and turnover rates started dropping as the country went into recession. The early 2000s was labeled the “jobless recovery” and turnover rates continued to fall. The economy began to pick up in 2005 and turnover rates started picking up too. Those rates started falling in 2008 as the “great recession” hit the economy. Turnover rates fell to under 10 percent for all four Mid-Valley counties and stayed there until 2013. Like clockwork, as the economy picked up so did the job turnover rate. However, rates are still very low compared to the boom-time rates of the middle and late 1990s.

During the last recession job turnover rates fell and they stayed low until the economy began to improve. The rates for all sectors combined in the Mid-Valley and the state have similar trend lines. However, manufacturing turnover rates at the state level are lower than in the Mid-Valley.

Manufacturing employs the third largest amount of workers with health care and retail coming in first and second respectively for Oregon. In the Mid-Valley retail and manufacturing switch places. The interest in manufacturing turnover is due to the high paying jobs this industry supports. So why does the Mid-Valley have higher turnover rates than Oregon?

This is due to the structure of manufacturing in the Mid-Valley. Food and beverage manufacturing, the lowest paying manufacturing sector, is 18 percent of statewide manufacturing, while it represents 31 percent of Mid-Valley manufacturing.

Turnover rates by year and by age cohort provides other interesting information about where you can find the highest and lowest rates. The surprising find in these data is the stability of 35 years and older workers. The younger workers, 14 to 34 years old, have turnover rates ranging from about 30 percent, at the youngest end of this age group, to over 10 percent at the oldest end. During the years of recession these rates dropped by between three and five percent; they have currently rebounded to the higher levels.
However, older workers, 35 to 64 years, have much lower turnover rates. These range from around eight percent to just under six percent. During recession, these rates fell about one to one and a half percent lower and have slowly increase as conditions improved. As workers reach 65 years and older, their turnover grows again to around 10 percent.

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