Oregon Employment Department Economic Update

Posted on February 27, 2022

Economic Update

This week, the Employment Department released two new reports summarizing details of Oregon’s job vacancies. As rapid hiring occurred in 2021 to replace jobs lost in 2020 during the pandemic, Oregon’s job vacancies rose to record levels. Oregon employers had 97,000 job openings at any given time in calendar year 2021. The need for workers was especially high in the second half of the year.

With record job openings also came record difficulty filling vacancies. Employers categorized nearly three out of four (72%) of their job openings as hard to fill. Unemployment declined significantly during 2021, and employers reported that their primary hiring challenge for nearly half of all hard-to-fill job openings was a lack of applicants. More job listings were also staying open longer as employers competed for the limited supply of available workers.

Employers raised wages in 2021. The average starting wage offered for job openings was $19.69 per hour, which was 4% higher than in 2020 after adjusting for inflation.

Overall, the characteristics employers are looking for haven’t changed much in the pandemic and recovery; there were just a lot more of them. Most job vacancies offered full-time work schedules, and employers were mostly looking to fill permanent positions. Job opportunities are plentiful for Oregon workers across all parts of Oregon’s economy. Employers reported job openings in more than 430 different occupations.

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