The latest results from the Oregon Department of Employment Vacancy Survey show that private employers in Oregon reported 103,000 job vacancies between October and December 2021.
Although this is a slight decrease (-4%) from the record of 107,000 job openings reported in the summer of 2021, employers are still actively recruiting for 88% more job openings compared to the end of 2020.
Hiring demand between October and December 2021 was widespread across Oregon’s economy. Five different sectors had at least 10,000 vacancies. They included health care and social assistance; construction; retail business; leisure and hospitality; and manufacturing.
Employers also reported near-record difficulty filling vacancies. Three in four job openings (76%) were identified as hard to fill in the fall. In Oregon and the United States, there are more job vacancies than unemployed. For every seven unemployed, there are 10 job offers. There simply aren’t enough workers for this near-record number of job openings.
Oregon’s private healthcare sector reported even greater difficulties, with nine out of 10 job openings (87%) identified by employers as hard to fill between October and December. Oregon’s healthcare sector has both the most job openings (16,000) and the most hard-to-fill vacancies (13,900) in the state. Health care aides, practical nurses and registered nurses accounted for the majority (57%) of hard-to-fill healthcare vacancies.
Each quarter, the Oregon Department of Employment surveys private employers in all industries and regions of the state to ask them what vacancies they are actively trying to fill. Oregon businesses reported nearly 102,900 job vacancies in fall 2021 (fourth quarter). The total number of job postings decreased by 4% from summer and increased by 88% from fall 2020. The high volume of job postings in the fall follows a two record quarters: 107,000 vacancies in summer 2021 and 97,800 in spring 2021.
Before the pandemic, the record was 66,600 vacancies in the summer of 2017. The high level of vacancies is not unique to Oregon right now. The number of private sector job openings in the United States stood at 8,995,000 in April 2021, 10,700,000 in July and 10,600,000 in October, significantly beating the previous high of October 2018 (7 055,000).
The unemployment-to-vacancy ratio reached record highs in the fall of 2021 as the economy continued to recover from the COVID-19 recession. The number of unemployed has declined rapidly since the spring 2020 surge with pandemic-related layoffs in both Oregon and the United States. Nationally, unemployment increased by 17 million between January 2020 and April 2020, when the number of unemployed people in the United States reached 23.1 million.
The number of private sector job openings in the United States, as measured by the Job Openings and Job Rotation Survey, decreased by 2.3 million between January 2020 and April 2020, which translates into a ratio of more than five unemployed for each job offer. As pandemic spikes and restrictions eased, in October 2021 job openings in the United States rose to 10.6 million and the number of unemployed fell to 6.9 million, giving a ratio of 0.7 unemployed per job offer.
In Oregon, the ratio increased further in the spring of 2020 as the number of unemployed increased, resulting in 5.8 unemployed workers for every job vacancy, similar to the ratio measured in early 2013 as the state recovered. of the Great Recession. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was very rapid, spreading rapidly through the labor market and pushing the economy from full employment to deep recession in just a few months.
The ratio has steadily improved since the initial peak in spring 2020. In October 2021, Oregon’s unemployed count fell further and the number of job vacancies increased significantly, leaving 0.7 unemployed per job opening , compared to 1.3 unemployed per job offer. in spring 2021 and 1.0 in summer 2021.
Most openings in the fall were for full-time, permanent positions. Higher than high school education was required for 32% of job vacancies in the fall. Health care and social assistance topped the industry list in the fall, with 27,700 vacancies. This is the sector with the most vacancies 22 of the last 24 quarters. The construction industry had the second highest number of vacancies of any industry, with 11,100 vacancies.
Hiring demand was widespread across all industries and occupations. Five industries had more than 10,000 vacancies in the fall: health care and social assistance; construction; retail trade (10,800); leisure and hospitality (10,600); and manufacturing (10,500). A majority of employers in every industry said their vacancies were hard to fill. Overall, 76% of vacancies were considered hard to fill.
Employers reported vacancies in 270 different occupations. The occupations with the most vacancies in fall 2021 included retail salespersons (5,100 vacancies), health care aides (4,400), truck drivers (3,900) and health care aides (3,000).
The average starting salary reported in summer was $21.22, an inflation-adjusted 14% increase from fall 2020. last fall. The number of vacancies offering a starting salary of less than $15 per hour decreased by 16% during the year. The number of vacancies offering between $15 and $25 per hour increased by 213%, and vacancies paying more than $25 per hour increased by 252%.
Fall vacations were spread across the state, with the Portland Tri-County area accounting for about 42%. Vacancies increased during the year in all regions of the state, with the largest gains in northwest Oregon and Lane County.
More details on job vacancies in Oregon are also available on QualityInfo.org, on the publications page under Job Vacancy Survey.
Anna Johnson is a senior economic analyst at the Oregon Department of Employment. She can be reached at 503-991-2110 or [email protected]