Oregon sees surge in job openings, report says

More than 35,000 vacancies - most full-time, permanent

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon's private employers had about 35,200 job vacancies this spring, a surging figure that shows signs of economic recovery, according to a survey released Monday by the Oregon Employment Department.

During the same period, there were 149,200 unemployed Oregonians, or roughly 4 unemployed people for each private-sector vacancy.

This is the first time spring estimates of Oregon job vacancies have been available since 2009.

As expected, the number of vacancies this spring was well above the level seen in the spring of 2009, when OED estimated 18,200 vacancies in the depths of the Great Recession.

The number was also well above the winter 2013 estimate of 22,900 vacancies that OED released in April.

An increase in the spring was expected, as labor demand hits a lull each winter, but the 35,200 vacancies this spring likely also marks a surge in job growth in Oregon in recent months.

The average hourly wage for the vacancies was $15.09, and nearly two-thirds (63 percent) were full-time positions, while 73 percent were permanent positions.

Only one-third required education beyond high school, but 60 percent required previous experience -- and 52 percent were described as "difficult to fill" by employers.

The health care and social assistance industry usually dominates Oregon job vacancies, and they came in first again, accounting for 6,586 of the spring vacancies.

However, manufacturing vacancies nearly caught up with the pace of health care hiring, reporting 6,545 vacancies.

Leisure and hospitality, and the management, administrative, and waste services industry (which includes company headquarters and temporary staffing agencies, among other businesses) each reported more than 4,100 vacancies. Natural resources and mining was also hiring this spring, with 3,800 vacancies.

The shares of full-time and permanent positions in the spring survey panel were down 10 percentage points from the winter survey, largely reflecting seasonal hiring in natural resource industries.

By occupation group, production occupations had the most vacancies in Spring 2013, followed by food prep workers and farming, fishing, and forestry jobs.

The survey captured data for five sub-state regions: Northwest Oregon/Willamette Valley; the Portland Tri-County area; Southwestern Oregon; Central Oregon; and Eastern Oregon.

The Portland Tri-County area had 16,627 vacancies, 47 percent of the statewide total – a percentage roughly equivalent to the area's share of total employment. The Central Oregon region reported 2,691 of the vacancies.

About the Survey

The Employment Department has moved to a quarterly Oregon Job Vacancy Survey, replacing the annual survey that has been in place since 2008. The fall 2012 survey captured 31,200 vacancies. Following seasonal employment patterns, vacancies declined to 22,900 in the first quarterly panel in winter 2013, then surged to 35,200 during the spring.

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the third quarter 2013 figures from the Oregon Job Vacancy Survey in early October.

For more details on recent Oregon job vacancies, visit the "publications" tab on and scroll down to the section titled "Quarterly Job Vacancies Snapshots."

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