Oregon's private employers had approximately 31,230 job vacancies during fall 2012, according to a Job Vacancy Survey recently completed by the Oregon Employment Department. During the same month there were 158,600 unemployed Oregonians, or roughly 5 unemployed people for each vacancy. In the fall of 2011 there were about 6 unemployed per vacancy. Nationally there are roughly 3 unemployed per vacancy.

The health care and social assistance industry accounted for 22 percent of all vacancies, more than double the number reported by any other industry sector. The leisure and hospitality; management, administrative, and waste services; and manufacturing sectors also had many vacancies. Each accounted for roughly 10 percent of the total.

Among occupation groups, the office and administrative support occupations (3,874) and sales and related occupations (3,175) recorded the most vacancies. Four specific occupations had more than 1,000 vacancies each: heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, personal care aides, customer service representatives, and retail salespersons.

Of Oregon's 31,230 vacancies in fall 2012:
• Three-fourths (74%) were for full-time positions.
• Four out of five (82%) were for permanent positions (neither temporary nor seasonal).
• Most vacancies (65%) required no education beyond high school.
• Two-thirds (68%) required previous experience.
• Two out of five (44%) were difficult to fill.

Oregon's job vacancies offered an average wage of $17.92 per hour, although average wages varied drastically by occupation, education requirement, and experience requirement. Vacancies that did not require education beyond high school offered an average hourly wage below $14.00 per hour, compared with average hourly wages of $21.74 per hour for vacancies requiring an associate degree, $29.62 per hour for a bachelor's degree, and $33.35 for a graduate degree.

Smaller employers, those with less than 20 employees, accounted for 39 percent of all vacancies compared with 25 percent at medium sized employers (20-99 employees) and 37 percent at large employers (100+ employees). Vacancies with large employers offered higher wages, averaging $19.21 per hour, compared with about $16.50 for medium sized and small employers.

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 14,864 vacancies, 48 percent of the statewide total. Vacancies in the Portland Tri-County area were more likely to require education beyond high school, and offered higher wages on average, at $19.14 per hour. The average wage exceeded $16.00 per hour in every region.

The Oregon Job Vacancy Survey has been conducted each fall since 2008. The 2012 estimate of 31,230 vacancies marked an increase from 30,384 vacancies in the fall of 2011, and 29,974 in the fall of 2010. Due to changes in survey methodology, these estimates over time are not directly comparable. However, the slight gains in vacancies are in line with Oregon's slow job growth since the Great Recession.

Northwest Lending Group