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Oregon Unemployed Outnumber Job Vacancies by Nearly Six to One
2/27/2012
CONTACT: Charlie Johnson
Senior Economic Analyst
(503) 947-1268
Charlie.B.Johnson@state.or.us 
 
The Oregon Employment Department has released the results of its most recent Job Vacancy Survey, conducted in fall 2011. Responses from employers indicate that there were approximately 30,400 job vacancies in Oregon during the month of October. During the same month there were 176,400 unemployed Oregonians, or roughly 5.8 unemployed people for each vacancy. In the fall of 2010 there were 6.5 unemployed per vacancy. Nationally there are roughly 4.2 unemployed per vacancy.
 
The health care and social assistance industry accounted for nearly 19 percent of all vacancies, more than any other industry sector. The retail trade and administrative and waste services sectors also had many vacancies, each accounting for roughly 14 percent of all vacancies.
 
There were more vacancies for office and administrative support occupations (4,010) and sales and related occupations (3,967) than any other occupation group. In contrast, vacancies in protective service occupations (329) and life, physical, and social sciences (105) were the sparsest during the month. Three specific occupations had more than 1,000 vacancies each: retail salesperson, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, and customer service representatives.
 
Oregon’s job vacancies offered an average wage of $16.58 per hour, although average wages varied drastically by occupation, education requirement, and licensure requirement. Vacancies that did not require education beyond high school offered an average hourly wage below $15 per hour, compared to average hourly wages of $20.04 per hour for vacancies requiring an associate or vocational degree, $28.05 per hour for a bachelor’s degree, and $34.54 for a graduate degree. However, nearly 60 percent of all Oregon vacancies in October did not require any education beyond high school and as a result more than half of all vacancies offered a starting wage below $15 per hour.
 
Of Oregon’s 30,384 vacancies, 64 percent were for full-time positions, 79 percent were for permanent positions (neither temporary nor seasonal), 32 percent required education beyond high school, 32 percent required a license or certificate, and 73 percent required previous experience.
Smaller employers, those with less than 50 employees, accounted for 48 percent of all vacancies compared to 31 percent at medium sized employers (50-249 employees) and 21 percent at large employers (250+ employees). However, large employers were more likely to be hiring for high-paying, full-time positions.
 
The survey captured data for the Portland Tri-County area, and all other counties of the state combined. The Portland Tri-County area had 17,782 vacancies (59%) compared to 12,602 (41%) throughout the rest of the state. Vacancies in the Portland Tri-County area were more likely to require previous experience, less likely to require a license or certificate, and more likely to be for temporary or seasonal jobs compared to other areas of the state.
 
The Oregon Job Vacancy Survey has been conducted each fall since 2008. The estimated number of job vacancies statewide in the fall of 2011 was essentially unchanged from the estimated count of vacancies in the fall of 2010. Due to differences in survey methods, the total statewide estimate of vacancies is the only figure that can be compared to previous survey periods; information about vacancies by occupation, average wage rates, educational requirements, etc., can’t be compared to prior years.