Oregon Businesses Report 51,600 Vacancies in Spring

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Oregon’s private employers had 51,600 job vacancies in spring. That was 21 percent below the spring 2018 vacancy total of 65,100. This is the second consecutive quarter we’ve seen job vacancies at notably lower levels from the same time one year earlier. Still, spring 2019 vacancies remained slightly above the number of job openings in spring 2014 (46,900), when employment was growing at a similar rate as in recent months. 

One category with an increase in vacancies over the past year included job vacancies requiring some education beyond high school but less than a bachelor’s degree. Oregon had roughly 12,700 vacancies with these postsecondary training or associate requirements in spring 2019, an increase of 1,400 (or 12%). Occupations with the most job openings in this group included registered nurses, truck drivers, nursing assistants, licensed practical and vocational nurses, private elementary school teachers, and dental assistants.

We take an interest in this group of vacancies for a few reasons. First, vacancies at these education levels may offer some career opportunities for job seekers on a relatively faster timeline than degree programs. Job openings with postsecondary training or associate requirements also paid an average starting wage of $24 per hour in spring, well above the $18 per hour average for all vacancies. The postsecondary training or associate degree job openings also had the highest share (82%) of difficult-to-fill vacancies by education category.

In addition to higher average starting wages, relatively less training, and higher likelihood of difficulty filling them, these vacancies are also making up a larger share of job openings in Oregon. During spring 2019, vacancies requiring something beyond high school but less than a four-year degree accounted for 26 percent of the total. That was 4 percentage points above the share in spring 2018 (22%), and 8 percentage points higher than spring 2017 (18%).

More information about job vacancies in Oregon can be found on the publications page of QualityInfo.org, or by contacting Senior Economic Analyst Gail Krumenauer. 

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